A novel in-gel assay and an improved kinetic assay for determining in vitro sulfite reductase activity in plants

Galina Brychkova, Dmitry Yarmolinsky, Yvonne Ventura, Moshe Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Sulfite reductase (SiR; EC, an essential enzyme in the sulfate reduction pathway, catalyzes the reduction of sulfite to sulfide, as an intermediate for cysteine biosynthesis. The commonly used kinetic assay for the detection of in vitro SiR activity in plants is based on a coupled reaction, in which the sulfide produced is converted to cysteine through the presence, in the assay medium, of O-acetylserine sulfhydralase (EC and its substrate, O-acetylserine. An improved kinetic assay for SiR activity in crude desalted protein extracts was developed. The improvement was based on pre-treatment of the protein with tungstate, which improved SiR activity in Arabidopsis and tomato leaf by 29 and 12, respectively, and the addition of NADPH to the reaction medium, which increased SiR activity by 1.6- and 2.8-fold in Arabidopsis and tomato, respectively, in comparison with the current protocols. Despite the availability and reliability of the kinetic assay, there is currently no assay that enables the direct detection of SiR in relatively large numbers of samples. To meet this need, we developed a novel in-gel assay to detect SiR activity in crude extracts. The method is based on the detection of a brownish-black precipitated band of lead sulfide, formed by the reaction of lead acetate with sulfide. The in-gel assay for SiR activity is reliable, sensitive and technically simpler than the kinetic assay, and opens up the possibility for detecting active SiR isoenzymes and splice variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-1516
Number of pages10
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • SiR activity
  • Sulfate reduction
  • Sulfide
  • Sulfite
  • Sulfite reductase (SiR)
  • Tungstate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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