Synthesis of Sulfides and Persulfides Is Not Impeded by Disruption of Three Canonical Enzymes in Sulfur Metabolism

Qamarul Hafiz Zainol Abidin, Tomoaki Ida, Masanobu Morita, Tetsuro Matsunaga, Akira Nishimura, Minkyung Jung, Naim Hassan, Tsuyoshi Takata, Isao Ishii, Warren Kruger, Rui Wang, Hozumi Motohashi, Masato Tsutsui, Takaaki Akaike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Reactive sulfur species, or persulfides and polysulfides, such as cysteine hydropersulfide and glutathione persulfide, are endogenously produced in abundance in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including mammals. Various forms of reactive persulfides occur in both low-molecular-weight and protein-bound thiols. The chemical properties and great supply of these molecular species suggest a pivotal role for reactive persulfides/polysulfides in different cellular regulatory processes (e.g., energy metabolism and redox signaling). We demonstrated earlier that cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (CARS) is a new cysteine persulfide synthase (CPERS) and is responsible for the in vivo production of most reactive persulfides (polysulfides). Some researchers continue to suggest that 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3-MST), cystathionine β-synthase (CBS), and cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE) may also produce hydrogen sulfide and persulfides that may be generated during the transfer of sulfur from 3-mercaptopyruvate to the cysteine residues of 3-MST or direct synthesis from cysteine by CBS/CSE, respectively. We thus used integrated sulfur metabolome analysis, which we recently developed, with 3-MST knockout (KO) mice and CBS/CSE/3-MST triple-KO mice, to elucidate the possible contribution of 3-MST, CBS, and CSE to the production of reactive persulfides in vivo. We therefore quantified various sulfide metabolites in organs derived from these mutant mice and their wild-type littermates via this sulfur metabolome, which clearly revealed no significant difference between mutant mice and wild-type mice in terms of reactive persulfide production. This result indicates that 3-MST, CBS, and CSE are not major sources of endogenous reactive persulfide production; rather, CARS/CPERS is the principal enzyme that is actually involved in and even primarily responsible for the biosynthesis of reactive persulfides and polysulfides in vivo in mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number868
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase
  • cystathionine β-synthase
  • cystathionine γ-lyase
  • cysteine persulfide synthase
  • cysteinyl-tRNA synthetases
  • reactive persulfides/polysulfides


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