Common themes and variations in the rhodanese superfamily

Rita Cipollone, Paolo Ascenzi, Paolo Visca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rhodanese homology domain is a ubiquitous fold found in several phylogenetically related proteins encoded by eubacterial, archeal, and eukaryotic genomes. Although rhodanese-like proteins share evolutionary relationships, analysis of their sequences highlights that they are so heterogeneous to form the rhodanese superfamily. The variability occurs at different levels including sequence, active site loop length, presence of a critical catalytic Cys residue, and domain arrangement. Even within the same genome, multiple genes encode rhodanese-like proteins presenting with variably arranged rhodanese domain(s): as single or tandem domain(s), or combined with other protein domain(s). Given the highly variable organization of the rhodanese domain(s) and the context where it is found, here we review the structural organization and function of the rhodanese-like proteins. The overview of the most recent findings about rhodanese allow us to depict a superfamily of versatile proteins relying on persulfide chemistry to accomplish cellular functions spanning from resistance to environmental threats, such as cyanide, and key cellular reactions related to sulfur metabolism and progression of cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalIUBMB Life
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Cyanide scavenging
  • Rhodanese
  • Sulfane sulfur
  • Sulfurtransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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