For many years reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS) have been recognized as key messengers in the process of thiol-based redox regulation. Relatively recently, literature reports began to mention reactive sulfur species (RSS) and their role in thiol regulation. This review is focused on biogenesis and biological properties of RSS, including: hydropersulfides, polysulfides and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Based on the most up-to-date literature data, the paper presents biological significance of S-sulfhydration process. In this reaction, sulfane sulfur is transferred to the -SH groups forming hydropersulfides. Protein cysteine residues, called "redox switches" are susceptible to such reversible modifications. In line with the most recent reports, it was emphasized that sulfane sulfur-containing compounds (mainly hydrogen persulfides and polysulfides) are real and better mediators of S-sulfhydration-based signaling than H2S. We also overviewed proteins participating in the formation and transport of reactive sulfur species and in mitochondrial H2S oxidation. In addition, we reviewed many reports about proteins unrelated to sulfur metabolism which are modified by S-sulfhydration that influences their catalytic activity. We also addressed the problem of the regulatory function of S-sulfhydration reaction in the activation of KATP channels (vasorelaxant) and transcription factors (e.g. NFκB) as well as in the mechanism of therapeutic action of garlic-derived sulfur compounds. Some aspects of comparison between RNS and RSS are also discussed in this review.
Iciek, M., Kowalczyk-Pachel, D., Bilska-Wilkosz, A., Kwiecie , I., Gorny, M., & W odek, L. (2016). S-sulfhydration as a cellular redox regulation. Bioscience Reports, 36(2), e00304–e00304. https://doi.org/10.1042/BSR20150147