Ergothioneine (ESH), an aromatic thiol occurring in the human diet and which accumulates in particular cells, is believed to act as an antioxidant. However, its redox mechanism remains unclear and it does not seem to provide any advantage compared to other antioxidants, such as alkylthiols, which are better reducing agents and generally present in cells at higher levels. Here, we investigated by ESI-MS the products of ESH oxidation produced by neutrophils during oxidative burst and, to further elucidate ESH redox behavior, we also analyzed the oxidation products of the reaction of ESH with hypochlorite in cellfree solutions. Indeed, neutrophils are the main source of hypochlorite in humans. Furthermore, we also tested other biologically relevant oxidants, such as peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide. Our results indicate that treatment of human neutrophils with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in the presence of ESH leads to a remarkable production of the sulfonated form (ESO3H), a compound never described before, and hercynine (EH), the desulfurated form of ESH. Similar results were obtained when ESH was subjected to cell-free oxidation in the presence of hypochlorite, as well as hydrogen peroxide or peroxynitrite. Furthermore, when the disulfide of ESH was reacted with those oxidants, we found that it was also oxidized, with production of EH and ESO3H, whose amount was dependent on the oxidant strength. These data reveal a unique ESH redox behavior, entirely different from that of alkylthiols, and suggest a mechanism, so far overlooked, through which ESH performs its antioxidant action in cells.

An uncommon redox behavior sheds light on the cellular antioxidant properties of ergothioneine

SERVILLO, Luigi;GIOVANE, Alfonso;BALESTRIERI, Maria Luisa;D'ONOFRIO, NUNZIA
2015

Abstract

Ergothioneine (ESH), an aromatic thiol occurring in the human diet and which accumulates in particular cells, is believed to act as an antioxidant. However, its redox mechanism remains unclear and it does not seem to provide any advantage compared to other antioxidants, such as alkylthiols, which are better reducing agents and generally present in cells at higher levels. Here, we investigated by ESI-MS the products of ESH oxidation produced by neutrophils during oxidative burst and, to further elucidate ESH redox behavior, we also analyzed the oxidation products of the reaction of ESH with hypochlorite in cellfree solutions. Indeed, neutrophils are the main source of hypochlorite in humans. Furthermore, we also tested other biologically relevant oxidants, such as peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide. Our results indicate that treatment of human neutrophils with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in the presence of ESH leads to a remarkable production of the sulfonated form (ESO3H), a compound never described before, and hercynine (EH), the desulfurated form of ESH. Similar results were obtained when ESH was subjected to cell-free oxidation in the presence of hypochlorite, as well as hydrogen peroxide or peroxynitrite. Furthermore, when the disulfide of ESH was reacted with those oxidants, we found that it was also oxidized, with production of EH and ESO3H, whose amount was dependent on the oxidant strength. These data reveal a unique ESH redox behavior, entirely different from that of alkylthiols, and suggest a mechanism, so far overlooked, through which ESH performs its antioxidant action in cells.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11591/182381
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