A series of 24 compounds of general formula R(1)S-Hg-SR(2), R(1) and R(2) being biologically relevant thiol-containing amino acids and peptides (cysteine, homo-cysteine, penicillamine, N-acetyl-cysteine, N-acetyl-penicillamine, cysteinyl-glycine, gamma-glutamyl-cysteine and glutathione) were prepared by direct reaction of mercury(II) ions and thiols in water at millimolar concentration. The obtained products were characterized by electrospray ionization and triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry. The source spectra of equimolar mixtures of two different thiols reacting with a stoichiometric amount of mercury(II) show the peak clusters of the three theoretically expected bis-thiolato-mercury(II) complexes with relative intensities close to the theoretically expected 1:2:1 ratio, thus pointing at lack of substantial discrimination between the different thiols, the only observed exception being homo-cysteine, which is less reactive than cysteine and penicillamine. The fragment spectra are structure-specific for the different ligands bound to the metal ion and allow a stand-alone discrimination of some constitutional isomer pairs. Among the peculiar fragmentation processes observed, loss of neutral ammonia from protonated symmetrical and unsymmetrical mercury(II)-bis-thiolates with free, protonizable amino groups leads to the formation of thiirane-carboxylic bound species; this process is suppressed when the protonated amino group is in the gamma-position with respect to the sulfur atom, as in the case of compounds with homo-cysteine. This unusual behavior may hint at unforeseen mechanisms for the interaction of mercury(II) with biological structures, ultimately leading to cellular and organ toxicity. Compounds with N-acetylated amino acids show distinctive fragment ions to which the connectivity of a protonated 2-methyl-oxazoline-5-carboxylic acid may be proposed on the basis of the loss of water and of the elements of formic acid. Finally, the adducts of mercury(II) with glutathione and gamma-glutamyl-cysteine feature a distinctive decomposition channel by loss of a pyroglutamic unit, much the same as protonated glutathione, glutathione disulfide, the S-glutathionyl adducts of biologically occurring electrophiles and other (pseudo)-peptides with gamma-glutamyl bonds.
|Titolo:||Molecular characterization of homo- and heterodimeric mercury(II)-bis-thiolates of some biologically relevant thiols by electrospray ionization and triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry|
|Parole Chiave:||Molecular Structure; Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization; Ions; Sulfhydryl Compounds; Environmental Exposure; Mercury Compounds; Environmental Pollutants|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore MED/44 - Medicina del Lavoro|
|Data di pubblicazione:||mar-2004|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.jasms.2003.10.013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|