Stereoselectivity of aldose reductase in the reduction of glutathionyl-hydroxynonanal adduct

Francesco Balestri, Vito Barracco, Giovanni Renzone, Tiziano Tuccinardi, Christian Silvio Pomelli, Mario Cappiello, Marco Lessi, Rossella Rotondo, Fabio Bellina, Andrea Scaloni, Umberto Mura, Antonella Del Corso, Roberta Moschini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formation of the adduct between the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) and glutathione, which leads to the generation of 3-glutathionyl-4-hydroxynonane (GSHNE), is one of the main routes of HNE detoxification. The aldo-keto reductase AKR1B1 is involved in the reduction of the aldehydic group of both HNE and GSHNE. In the present study, the effect of chirality on the recognition by aldose reductase of HNE and GSHNE was evaluated. AKR1B1 discriminates very modestly between the two possible enantiomers of HNE as substrates. Conversely, a combined kinetic analysis of the glutathionyl adducts obtained starting from either 4R-or 4S-HNE and mass spectrometry analysis of GSHNE products obtained from racemic HNE revealed that AKR1B1 possesses a marked preference toward the 3S,4R-GSHNE diastereoisomer. Density functional theory and molecular modeling studies revealed that this diastereoisomer, besides having a higher tendency to be in an open aldehydic form (the one recognized by AKR1B1) in solution than other GSHNE diastereoisomers, is further stabilized in its open form by a specific interaction with the enzyme active site. The relevance of this stereospecificity to the final metabolic fate of GSHNE is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number502
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-glutathionyl-4-hydroxynonenal
  • 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal
  • Aldose reductase
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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