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Taurine: new implications for an old amino acid Georgia B. Schuller-Levis

Summary: MiniReview
Taurine: new implications for an old amino acid
Georgia B. Schuller-Levis
, Eunkyue Park
New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Staten Island, New York, NY 10314, USA
Received 6 May 2003; received in revised form 8 July 2003; accepted 12 July 2003
First published online 27 August 2003
Taurine is a semi-essential amino acid and is not incorporated into proteins. In mammalian tissues, taurine is ubiquitous and is the most
abundant free amino acid in the heart, retina, skeletal muscle, brain, and leukocytes. In fact, taurine reaches up to 50 mM concentration
in leukocytes. Taurine has been shown to be tissue-protective in many models of oxidant-induced injury. One possibility is that taurine
reacts with hypochlorous acid, produced by the myeloperoxidase pathway, to produce the more stable but less toxic taurine chloramine
(Tau-Cl). However, data from several laboratories demonstrate that Tau-Cl is a powerful regulator of inflammation. Specifically, Tau-Cl
has been shown to down-regulate the production of pro-inflammatory mediators in both rodent and human leukocytes. Taurolidine, a
derivative of taurine, is commonly used in Europe as an adjunctive therapy for various infections as well as for tumor therapy. Recent
molecular studies on the function of taurine provide evidence that taurine is a constituent of biologic macromolecules. Specifically, two
novel taurine-containing modified uridines have been found in both human and bovine mitochondria. Studies investigating the mechanism
of action of Tau-Cl have shown that it inhibits the activation of NF-UB, a potent signal transducer for inflammatory cytokines, by
oxidation of IUB-K at Met45
. Key enzymes for taurine biosynthesis have recently been cloned. Cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase, a rate-


Source: Aris, John P. - Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Florida


Collections: Biology and Medicine