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Encyclopedia > Disulfide bonds

A disulfide bond (SS-bond), also called a disulfide bridge, is a strong covalent bond between two sulfhydryl groups. This bond is very important to the folding, structure, and function of proteins.


When two amino acids bond to each other through their side chains, they normally do so through a disulfide bond. The particular side chain involved is the thiol group (-SH). Oxidation of the thiol group yields a disulfide (S-S) bond. The presence of S-S then helps to maintain the tertiary structure of the protein. An amino acid that commonly forms S-S bonds in proteins in cysteine. When two cysteines are bonded by an S-S bond, the resulting molecule between the two protein chains is called cystine. The figure below shows the formation of a disulfide bond. The R on each side group represents the remainder of the amino acid.

 R R | | SH S oxidation-> | + 2H SH S | | R R 

In proteins that contain more than one disulfide bond, proper pairing of the cysteine residues is important for normal structure and activity.

Contents

In bacteria

Disulfide bonds play an imporant protective role for bacteria as a reversible switch that turns a protein on or off when bacterial cells are exposed to oxidation reactions. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in particular can severely damage DNA and kill the bacterium at low concentrations if it weren't for the protective action of the SS-bond.


In rubber

Disulfide bonds also play a significant role in the vulcanization of rubber.


In eukaryotes

In eukaryotic cells, disulfide bonds are formed in the lumen of the RER (rough endoplasmic reticulum) but not in the cytosol. Thus disulfide bonds are found only in secretory proteins, lysosomal proteins, and the exoplasmic domains of membrane proteins.


Disulphide bonds are also formed within and between protamines in the sperm chromatin of many mammalian species.


In hair

Hair is a biological polymer, with over 90% of its dry weight made of proteins called keratins. Under normal conditions, human hair contains around 10% water, which modifies its mechanical properties considerably. Hair proteins are held together by disulfide bonds, from the amino acid cysteine. These links are very robust: for example, virtually intact hair has been recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs. Different parts of the hair have different cysteine levels, leading to harder or softer material. Breaking and making disulfide bonds governs the phenomenon of wavy or frizzy hair.


External links

  • Disulfide bonds and hair (http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/may98/892764277.Ch.r.html)
  • Protein disulfide bond formation in prokaryotes (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12524212)
  • Oxidative protein folding in eukaryotes : mechanisms and consequences (http://www.jcb.org/cgi/content/full/164/3/341)
  • The human protein disulphide isomerase family: substrate interactions and functional properties (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15643448)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Disulfide bond - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1248 words)
Disulfide bonds in proteins are formed between the thiol groups of cysteine residues.
The prototype of a protein disulfide bond is the two-amino-acid peptide, cystine, which is composed of two cysteine amino acids joined by a disulfide bond (shown in Figure 2 in its unionized form).
Disulfide bonds play an important protective role for bacteria as a reversible switch that turns a protein on or off when bacterial cells are exposed to oxidation reactions.
Disulfide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (270 words)
In chemistry, a disulfide ion is an anion (negatively-charged ion) formed by two sulfur atoms having an overall -2 charge.
In many cases, each of the two sulfur atoms in a disulfide group is covalently bonded to a carbon atom in an organic compound, forming a disulfide bond, sometimes called a disulfide linkage or a disulfide bridge.
Examples of organic compounds containing a disulfide bond or group are the biological amino acid cystine and lipoic acid.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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