Protein sulfenic acids in redox signaling

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2004:44:325-47. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.44.101802.121735.


Reactive (low pKa) cysteine residues in proteins are critical components in redox signaling. A particularly reactive and versatile reversibly oxidized form of cysteine, the sulfenic acid (Cys-SOH), has important roles as a catalytic center in enzymes and as a sensor of oxidative and nitrosative stress in enzymes and transcriptional regulators. Depending on environment, sometimes the sulfenic acid provides a metastable oxidized form, and other times it is a fleeting intermediate giving rise to more stable disulfide, sulfinic acid, or sulfenyl-amide forms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glutathione Reductase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methionine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Peroxidases / metabolism
  • Peroxides / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Sulfenic Acids / chemistry
  • Sulfenic Acids / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Peroxides
  • Proteins
  • Sulfenic Acids
  • Methionine
  • Peroxidases
  • NAD+ peroxidase
  • Glutathione Reductase
  • methionine sulfoxide