Spontaneous oscillatory chiral conversion and condensation of low-molecular-weight chiral carboxylic acids have been investigated by our research group for almost 10 years now. However, dynamics of these oscillatory processes substantially differ from one compound to another, moreover, spontaneous chiral conversion and condensation of sulfur-containing amino acids have not been investigated so far. To this effect, we present in this paper the results of our current investigations on spontaneous oscillatory chiral conversion and condensation of l-cysteine (l-Cys), a biologically important sulfur-containing semiessential amino acid. In our thin-layer chromatographic experiments, we employ the Mn(II) and Zn(II) cations to facilitate the enantioseparation of l-Cys from the spontaneously formed d-Cys, to prevent chiral conversion of the L form, and to highlight rapid consumption of Cys in the course of condensation. Spontaneous peptidization of Cys is confirmed with use of thin-layer chromatography-mass spectrometry (TLC-MS). Additionally, we emphasize the oscillatory nature of the investigated process with use of high-performance liquid chromatography-evaporative light scattering detection (HPLC-ELSD) and provide a complementary insight in the chemical structure of the spontaneously formed Cys-derived oligopeptides with use of HPLC-MS.
M. Sajewicz, R. Piętka, A. Pieniak, T. Kowalska, Acta Chromatogr. 15 (2005) 131–149.