Chalcogen Chemistry: Fundamentals and Applications
Chapter 23: The Discovery of Glutathione Peroxidases: Milestones in Understanding the Biological Role of Selenium und Sulfur
Published:15 Feb 2023
Leopold Flohé, 2023. "The Discovery of Glutathione Peroxidases: Milestones in Understanding the Biological Role of Selenium und Sulfur", Chalcogen Chemistry: Fundamentals and Applications, Vito Lippolis, Claudio Santi, Eder J. Lenardão, Antonio L. Braga
Download citation file:
The co-substrate of glutathione peroxidases (GPx), glutathione (GSH), was discovered in the 19th century by de Rey-Pailhade and named “philothion”.1 A partial elucidation of its composition was achieved in the early 1920s by Hopkins.2 The final characterization as the atypical tripeptide γ-glutamyl-cysteinyl-glycine required the evidence of the chemical synthesis by Harrington and Mead3 and du Vigneaud and Miller4 in the 1930s. The biosynthesis of GSH was then elucidated in the 1940s by Waelsch and Rittenberg5 and Bloch and Anker6 (for a recent review see Forman et al.).7 If one searches the internet for functions of glutathione, one can learn that it is a “key detoxifying molecule” or “the mother of all antioxidants”, both terms were primed early in the history of GSH and are not entirely adequate. Instead, I would recommend reading the greatly written review on the early GSH history by the late Alton Meister.8 Although it was published in 1988, it is still a most valuable source to find almost-forgotten knowledge and explanations of cloudy characteristics.