Biochemical Journal

Research article

Protein S-thiolation targets glycolysis and protein synthesis in response to oxidative stress in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Daniel SHENTON, Chris M. GRANT


The irreversible oxidation of cysteine residues can be prevented by protein S-thiolation, a process by which protein SH groups form mixed disulphides with low-molecular-mass thiols such as glutathione. We report here the target proteins which are modified in yeast cells in response to H2O2. In particular, a range of glycolytic and related enzymes (Tdh3, Eno2, Adh1, Tpi1, Ald6 and Fba1), as well as translation factors (Tef2, Tef5, Nip1 and Rps5) are identified. The oxidative stress conditions used to induce S-thiolation are shown to inhibit GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), enolase and alcohol dehydrogenase activities, whereas they have no effect on aldolase, triose phosphate isomerase or aldehyde dehydrogenase activities. The inhibition of GAPDH, enolase and alcohol dehydrogenase is readily reversible once the oxidant is removed. In addition, we show that peroxide stress has little or no effect on glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase or 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, the enzymes that catalyse NADPH production via the pentose phosphate pathway. Thus the inhibition of glycolytic flux is proposed to result in glucose equivalents entering the pentose phosphate pathway for the generation of NADPH. Radiolabelling is used to confirm that peroxide stress results in a rapid and reversible inhibition of protein synthesis. Furthermore, we show that glycolytic enzyme activities and protein synthesis are irreversibly inhibited in a mutant that lacks glutathione, and hence cannot modify proteins by S-thiolation. In summary, protein S-thiolation appears to serve an adaptive function during exposure to an oxidative stress by reprogramming metabolism and protecting protein synthesis against irreversible oxidation.

  • glutathione
  • oxidative stress
  • protein S-thiolation
  • regulation of metabolism
  • yeast


  • Abbreviations used: GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; G6PDH, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; 6PGDH, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase; NEM, N-ethylmaleimide; DTT, dithiothreitol; MALDI-TOF MS, matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization–time-of-flight MS.