Molecular basis for the resistance of human mitochondrial 2-Cys peroxiredoxin 3 to hyperoxidation

J Biol Chem. 2013 Oct 11;288(41):29714-23. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.473470. Epub 2013 Sep 3.


Peroxiredoxins (Prxs) detoxify peroxides and modulate H2O2-mediated cell signaling in normal and numerous pathophysiological contexts. The typical 2-Cys subclass of Prxs (human Prx1-4) utilizes a Cys sulfenic acid (Cys-SOH) intermediate and disulfide bond formation across two subunits during catalysis. During oxidative stress, however, the Cys-SOH moiety can react with H2O2 to form Cys sulfinic acid (Cys-SO2H), resulting in inactivation. The propensity to hyperoxidize varies greatly among human Prxs. Mitochondrial Prx3 is the most resistant to inactivation, but the molecular basis for this property is unknown. A panel of chimeras and Cys variants of Prx2 and Prx3 were treated with H2O2 and analyzed by rapid chemical quench and time-resolved electrospray ionization-TOF mass spectrometry. The latter utilized an on-line rapid-mixing setup to collect data on the low seconds time scale. These approaches enabled the first direct observation of the Cys-SOH intermediate and a putative Cys sulfenamide (Cys-SN) for Prx2 and Prx3 during catalysis. The substitution of C-terminal residues in Prx3, residues adjacent to the resolving Cys residue, resulted in a Prx2-like protein with increased sensitivity to hyperoxidation and decreased ability to form the intermolecular disulfide bond between subunits. The corresponding Prx2 chimera became more resistant to hyperoxidation. Taken together, the results of this study support that the kinetics of the Cys-SOH intermediate is key to determine the probability of hyperoxidation or disulfide formation. Given the oxidizing environment of the mitochondrion, it makes sense that Prx3 would favor disulfide bond formation as a protection mechanism against hyperoxidation and inactivation.

Keywords: Mass Spectrometry (MS); Mitochondria; Peroxiredoxin; Redox; Thiol.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biocatalysis
  • Disulfides / chemistry
  • Disulfides / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oxidants / chemistry
  • Oxidants / metabolism
  • Oxidants / pharmacology
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Peroxiredoxin III / chemistry
  • Peroxiredoxin III / genetics
  • Peroxiredoxin III / metabolism
  • Peroxiredoxins / chemistry
  • Peroxiredoxins / genetics
  • Peroxiredoxins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Sulfinic Acids / chemistry
  • Sulfinic Acids / metabolism


  • Disulfides
  • Oxidants
  • Sulfinic Acids
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 2-cys peroxiredoxin, human
  • Peroxiredoxin III
  • Peroxiredoxins