The multifaceted roles of sulfane sulfur species in cancer-associated processes

Karim Zuhra, Catarina S. Tomé, Elena Forte, João B. Vicente, Alessandro Giuffrè

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Sulfane sulfur species comprise a variety of biologically relevant hydrogen sulfide (H2S)-derived species, including per- and poly-sulfidated low molecular weight compounds and proteins. A growing body of evidence suggests that H2S, currently recognized as a key signaling molecule in human physiology and pathophysiology, plays an important role in cancer biology by modulating cell bioenergetics and contributing to metabolic reprogramming. This is accomplished through functional modulation of target proteins via H2S binding to heme iron centers or H2S-mediated reversible per- or poly-sulfidation of specific cysteine residues. Since sulfane sulfur species are increasingly viewed not only as a major source of H2S but also as key mediators of some of the biological effects commonly attributed to H2S, the multifaceted role of these species in cancer biology is reviewed here with reference to H2S, focusing on their metabolism, signaling function, impact on cell bioenergetics and anti-tumoral properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148338
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Cancer
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Persulfides and polysulfides
  • Protein persulfidation
  • Signaling molecules


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