Sulfheme formation during homocysteine S-oxygenation by catalase in cancers and neurodegenerative diseases

Abstract : Accumulating evidence suggests that abnormal levels of homocysteine are associated with vascular dysfunctions, cancer cell proliferation and various neurodegenerative diseases. With respect to the latter, a perturbation of transition metal homeostasis and an inhibition of catalase bioactivity have been reported. Herein, we report on some of the molecular bases for the cellular toxicity of homocysteine and demonstrate that it induces the formation of sulfcatalase, an irreversible inactive state of the enzyme, without the intervention of hydrogen sulfide. Initially, homocysteine reacts with native catalase and/or redox-active transition metal ions to generate thiyl radicals that mediate compound II formation, a temporarily inactive state of the enzyme. Then, the ferryl centre of compound II intervenes into the unprecedented S-oxygenation of homocysteine to engender the corresponding sulfenic acid species that further participates into the prosthetic heme modification through the formation of an unusual Fe( II) sulfonium. In addition, our ex cellulo studies performed on cancer cells, models of neurodegenerative diseases and ulcerative colitis suggest the likelihood of this scenario in a subset of cancer cells, as well as in a cellular model of Parkinson's disease. Our findings expand the repertoire of heme modifications promoted by biological compounds and point out another deleterious trait of disturbed homocysteine levels that could participate in the aetiology of these diseases.
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Dominique Padovani, Assia Hessani, Francine T. Castillo, Géraldine Liot, Mireille Andriamihaja, et al.. Sulfheme formation during homocysteine S-oxygenation by catalase in cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 7, ⟨10.1038/ncomms13386⟩. ⟨hal-01488442⟩

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