Reaction of Hydrogen Sulfide with Disulfide and Sulfenic Acid to Form the Strongly Nucleophilic Persulfide.J Biol Chem. 2015 Nov 06; 290(45):26866-26880.JB
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is increasingly recognized to modulate physiological processes in mammals through mechanisms that are currently under scrutiny. H2S is not able to react with reduced thiols (RSH). However, H2S, more precisely HS(-), is able to react with oxidized thiol derivatives. We performed a systematic study of the reactivity of HS(-) toward symmetric low molecular weight disulfides (RSSR) and mixed albumin (HSA) disulfides. Correlations with thiol acidity and computational modeling showed that the reaction occurs through a concerted mechanism. Comparison with analogous reactions of thiolates indicated that the intrinsic reactivity of HS(-) is 1 order of magnitude lower than that of thiolates. In addition, H2S is able to react with sulfenic acids (RSOH). The rate constant of the reaction of H2S with the sulfenic acid formed in HSA was determined. Both reactions of H2S with disulfides and sulfenic acids yield persulfides (RSSH), recently identified post-translational modifications. The formation of this derivative in HSA was determined, and the rate constants of its reactions with a reporter disulfide and with peroxynitrite revealed that persulfides are better nucleophiles than thiols, which is consistent with the α effect. Experiments with cells in culture showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide enhanced the formation of persulfides. Biological implications are discussed. Our results give light on the mechanisms of persulfide formation and provide quantitative evidence for the high nucleophilicity of these novel derivatives, setting the stage for understanding the contribution of the reactions of H2S with oxidized thiol derivatives to H2S effector processes.