Reactions of One-Electron-Oxidized Methionine with Oxygen: An ab initio study

Meilan Huang, A. Rauk

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29 Citations (Scopus)


A one-electron oxidation of a methionine residue is thought to be a key step in the neurotoxicity of the beta amyloid peptide of Alzheimer's disease. The chemistry of the radical cation of N-formylmethioninamide (11+) and two model systems, dimethyl sulfide (1+) and ethyl methyl sulfide (6+), in the presence of oxygen have been studied by B3LYP/6-31G(d) and CBS-RAD calculations. The stable form of 11+ has a three-electron bond between the sulfur radical cation and the carbonyl oxygen atom of the i - 1 residue. The radical cation may lose a proton from the methyl or methylene groups flanking the oxidized sulfur. Both 11+ and the resultant C-centered radicals may add oxygen to form peroxy radicals. The calculations indicate that unlike C-centered radicals the sulfur radical cation does not form a covalent bond to oxygen but rather forms a loose ion-induced dipole complex with an S-O separation of about 2.7 Å, and is bound by about 13 kJ mol-1 (on the basis of 1+ + O2). Direct intramolecular abstraction of an H atom from the C site is unlikely. It is endothermic by more than 20 kJ mol-1 and involves a high barrier (G = 79 kJ mol-1). The -to-S C-centered radicals will add oxygen to form peroxy radicals. The OH BDEs of the parent hydroperoxides are in the range of 352-355 kJ mol-1, similar to SH BDEs (360 kJ mol-1) and C-H BDEs (345-350 kJ mol-1). Thus, the peroxy radicals are oxidizing species comparable in strength to thiyl radicals and peptide backbone C-centered radicals. Each peroxy radical can abstract a hydrogen atom from the backbone C site of the Met residue to yield the corresponding C-centered radical/hydroperoxide in a weakly exothermic process with modest barriers in the range of 64-92 kJ mol-1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6222-6230
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Volume108 (29)
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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