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Journal Article

Mechanistic studies on a novel, highly potent gold-phosphole inhibitor of human glutathione reductase


Fritz-Wolf,  Karin
Emeritus Group Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Deponte, M., Urig, S., Arscott, L. D., Fritz-Wolf, K., Réau, R., Herold-Mende, C., et al. (2005). Mechanistic studies on a novel, highly potent gold-phosphole inhibitor of human glutathione reductase. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280(21), 20628-20637. doi:10.1074/jbc.M412519200.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-8EBA-F
The homodimeric flavoprotein glutathione reductase (GR) is a central player of cellular redox metabolism, connecting NADPH to the large pool of redox-active thiols. In this work, the inhibition of human GR by a novel gold-phosphole inhibitor (GoPI) has been studied in vitro. Two modes of inhibition are observed, reversible inhibition that is competitive with GSSG followed by irreversible inhibition. When 1 nM GoPI is incubated with NADPH-reduced GR (1.4 nM) the enzyme becomes 50% inhibited. This appears to be the most potent stable inhibitor of human GR to date. Analyzing the monophasic oxidative half-reaction of reduced GR with GSSG at pH 6.9 revealed a Kd(app) for GSSG of 63 µM, and a k(obs)max of 106 s-1 at 4 ˚C. The reversible inhibition by the gold-phosphole complex [{1-phenyl-2,5-di(2-pyridyl)phosphole}AuCl] involves formation of a complex at the GSSG-binding site of GR (Kd = 0.46 µM) followed by nucleophilic attack of an active site cysteine residue that leads to covalent modification and complete inactivation of the enzyme. Data from titration spectra, molecular modeling, stopped-flow, and steady-state kinetics support this theory. In addition, covalent binding of the inhibitor to human GR was demonstrated by mass spectrometry. The extraordinary properties of the compound and its derivatives might be exploited for cell biological studies or medical applications, e.g. as an anti-tumor or antiparasitic drug. Preliminary experiments with glioblastoma cells cultured in vitro indicate an anti-proliferative effect of the inhibitor in the lower micromolar range