Reduction and S-nitrosation of the neuropeptide oxytocin: Implications for its biological function
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Oxytocin (OT; Cys-Tyr-Ile-Gln-Asn-Cys-Pro-leu-Gly), a posterior pituitary peptide hormone, is characterized by a Cys1-Cys6 disulfide bond in its stable, isolated state. This paper describes a simple, one-step method for the production of OT in its reduced, dithiol form (OT dithiol), free of reducing agent. The effects of temperature, pH, and metal-ion chelators on the autoxidation of OT dithiol were examined to establish if this form is likely to persist under biological conditions. It was found that OT dithiol has a half-life of 1.8h with respect to reformation of OT disulfide at 37 degrees C and pH 6.9 in the presence of the copper chelators, DTPA and neocuproine. S-Nitrosation of OT dithiol by acidified nitrite at pH 3.0 was examined by absorption spectroscopy and HPLC-UV-MS, which revealed that both singly and doubly S-nitrosated OT are formed. These results suggest novel chemical aspects to OT signaling, the biological implications of which are discussed here.
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