Versatility of Selenium Catalysis in PHGPx Unraveled by LC/ESI-MS/MS

P. Mauri, L. Benazzi, L. Flohé, M. Maiorino, P. G. Pietta, S. Pilawa, A. Roveri and F. Ursini


Phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx; EC, a broad-spectrum thiol-dependent peroxidase, deserves renewed interest as a regulatory factor in various signaling cascades and as a structural protein in sperm cells. We present a first attempt to identify catalytic intermediates and derivatives of the selenoprotein by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS) and to explain observed specificities by molecular modeling. The ground state enzyme E proved to correspond to position 3-170 of the deduced porcine sequence with selenium being present as selenocysteine at position 46. The selenenic acid form, which is considered to be the first catalytic intermediate F formed by reaction with hydroperoxide, could not be identified. The second catalytic intermediate G was detected as Se-glutathionylated enzyme. This intermediate is generated in the reverse reaction where the active site selenol interacts with glutathione disulfide (GSSG). According to molecular models, specific binding of reduced glutathione (GSH) and of GSSG is inter alia facilitated by electrostatic attraction of Lys-48 and Lys-125. Polymerization of PHGPx is obtained under oxidizing conditions in the absence of low molecular weight thiols. Analysis of MS spectra revealed that the process is due to a selective reaction of Sec-46 with Cys-148' resulting in linear polymers representing deadend intermediates (G'). FT Docking of PHGPx molecules allowed reactions of Sec-46 with either Cys-66', Cys-107', Cys-168' or Cys-148', the latter option being most likely as judged by the number of proposed intermediates with reasonable hydrogen bonds, interaction energies and interface areas. We conclude that the same catalytic principles, depending on the conditions, can drive the diverse actions of PHGPx, i.e. hydroperoxide reduction, GSSG reduction, S-derivatization and self-incorporation into biological structures.

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Biological Chemistry keeps you up-to-date with the latest advances in the molecular life sciences. The journal publishes Research Articles, Short Communications, Reviews and Minireviews. Areas include: general biochemistry/pathobiochemistry, structural biology, molecular and cellular biology, genetics and epigenetics, virology, molecular medicine, plant molecular biology/biochemistry and novel experimental methodologies.