• ab initio calculations;
  • hirudin;
  • protein folding;
  • stochastic reactions;
  • sulfur;
  • thioselenurane


To elucidate the reaction mechanism of the disulfide (SS) bond formation reaction of a polypeptide molecule with a water-soluble selenoxide reagent, trans-3,4-dihydroxyselenolane oxide (DHSox), short-term oxidation experiments were carried out for the reduced state (R) of a recombinant hirudin CX-397 variant at pH 7.0 and 25 °C. In the reaction, R was oxidized sequentially to one-SS, two-SS, and three-SS intermediate ensembles within 1 min. The kinetic analysis revealed that the three second-order rate constants for the SS formation are proportional to the number of thiol groups existing in the reactant SS intermediates, indicating the stochastic nature of the SS formation. Ab initio calculation at the HF/6-31++G(d,p) level in water by using the polarizable continuum model suggested that the SS formation reaction is highly exothermic and proceeds via a reactive thioselenurane intermediate with a distorted linear O-Se-S linkage. The results clearly demonstrated that the rate-determining step of the SS formation reaction is the first bimolecular process between a thiol substrate and DHSox rather than the subsequent process to release a SS product.