Selective reduction of methylsulfinyl-containing compounds by mammalian MsrA suggests a strategy for improved drug efficacy

ACS Chem Biol. 2011 Oct 21;6(10):1029-35. doi: 10.1021/cb2001395. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Identification of pathways of drug metabolism provides critical information regarding efficacy and safety of these compounds. Particularly challenging cases involve stereospecific processes. We found that broad classes of compounds containing methylsulfinyl groups are reduced to methylsulfides specifically by methionine sulfoxide reductase A, which acts on the S-stereomers of methionine sulfoxides, whereas the R-stereomers of these compounds could not be efficiently reduced by any methionine sulfoxide reductase in mammals. The findings of efficient reduction of S-methylsulfinyls and deficiency in the reduction of R-methylsulfinyls by methionine sulfoxide reductases suggest strategies for improved efficacy and decreased toxicity of drugs and natural compounds containing methylsulfinyls through targeted use of their enantiomers.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Sulfides / chemistry
  • Sulfides / metabolism*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Sulfides
  • Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases
  • methionine sulfoxide reductase