Coordination and Binding of Taurine as Determined by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Measurements on 13C-Labeled Taurine

  • Charles S. Irving
  • Bruce E. Hammer
  • Steven S. Danyluk
  • Peter D. Klein
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 139)


A number of pharmacological actions of taurine (5,8,9,16,17,19, 21,30,31) on central nervous and peripheral tissues have suggested that taurine might modulate cation flux (15) by either direct (10, 13) or indirect interactions (4) with calcium. The ability of taurine to influence calcium flux by direct coordination with calcium depends on the fraction of free intracellular calcium which can be trapped by taurine. The fraction of calcium that exists as a taurine complex can be estimated readily from intracellular taurine, calcium and hydrogen ion levels, and the formation constants of taurine-calcium complexes. The latter formation constants can be determined in vitro and applied to in vivo conditions. Dolara and coworkers (11,12) using calcium-taurine formation constants estimated from natural abundance 13C chemical shift titration curves, have calculated that approximately 8% of the total calcium in mammalian myocardium exists in taurine complexes. The inherent difficulties associated with making very precise measurements on noisy, low sensitivity natural abundance 13C NMR spectra suggested that the determination of calcium-taurine formation constants be repeated using 13C enriched taurine. We have determined 13C chemical shift titration curves of the calcium-taurine system using 13C-taurine and have obtained new formation constants for calcium-taurine complexes by rigorous complex equilibrium analysis of the titration curves. These formation constants predict that only neglible amounts of calcium are bound directly to taurine at the taurine and calcium levels found in myocardial cells. Additional 13C NMR measurements of taurine in solution have revealed some unexpected electronic properties of the molecule, which may be important to its biological function.


Chemical Shift Titration Curve Formation Constant Sulfonic Acid Group Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Measurement 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles S. Irving
    • 1
  • Bruce E. Hammer
    • 2
  • Steven S. Danyluk
    • 2
  • Peter D. Klein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics Baylor College of MedicineChildren’s Nutrition Research CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Biological and Medical ResearchArgonne National LaboratoryArgonneUSA

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