Reaction of hypotaurine or taurine with superoxide produces the organic peroxysulfonic acid peroxytaurine
Hypotaurine and taurine are amino acid derivatives and abundant molecules in many eukaryotes. The biological reaction in which hypotaurine is converted to taurine remains poorly understood. Here, hypotaurine and taurine were observed to react with superoxide anion in vitro to form the novel molecule peroxytaurine. In contrast, hypotaurine reacts with hydrogen peroxide to form taurine, but taurine does not react with hydrogen peroxide in vitro. Mass and NMR spectrometry as well as FTIR and Raman spectroscopy support the molecular characterization of peroxytaurine. Gravitometric and spectroscopy experiments suggest a stoichiometry of two superoxide anions reacting with one hypotaurine or two taurines. The newly identified molecule is a semi-stable, organic peroxysulfonic acid that may be an intermediate metabolite in taurine synthesis.