Sulfhydryl reactivity of human erythrocyte superoxide-dismutase - origin of unusual spectral properties of protein when prepared by a procedure utilizing chloroform and ethanol for precipitation of hemoglobin
1. During purification of human superoxide dismutase by the McCord-Fridovich procedure (McCord, J.M. and Fridovich, I. (1969) J. Biol. Chem. 244, 6049--6055) the "extra" sulfhydryl groups react with a variety of sulfur containing compounds including zero-valent sulfur to yield several dismutase fractions containing excess sulfur atoms and having a unique absorption band in the region of 325 nm. This is shown to be artefact of the purification procedure. 2. Cysteine trisulfide and glutathione polysulfide were found to react with native human superoxide dismutase to yield derivatives having no reactive sulfhydryl groups and possessing spectral properties similar to the various fractions obtainable from the above purification procedure. A structure of the type protein-CH2-S-(S)n R is proposed to account for the results. The value of n is variable, and the additional sulfur reactive toward thiol reagents is thought to be due to persulfides (R = H). The 325 nm band is probably due to a n leads to sigma ss transition associated with a strained S-S bound.