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Diversion of the melanin synthetic pathway by dopamine product scavengers: A quantum chemical modeling of the reaction mechanisms

T. B. Demissie
G. Y. Ashebir


We report the stability and reactivity of the oxidation products as well as L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine adducts of dopamine studied using quantum chemical calculations. The overall reactions studied were subdivided into four reaction channels. The first reaction channel is the oxidation of dopamine to form dopaminoquinone. The second reaction channel leads to melanin formation through subsequent reactions. The third and fourth reaction channels are reactions leading to the formation of dopaminoquinone adducts which are aimed to divert the synthesis of melanin. The results indicate that L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine undergo chemical reactions mainly at C5 position of dopaminoquinone. The analyses of the thermodynamic energies indicate that L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine covalently bind to dopaminoquinone by competing with the internal cyclization reaction of dopaminoquinone which leads to the synthesis of melanin. The analysis of the results, based on the reaction free energies, is also supported by the investigation of the natural bond orbitals of the reactants and products.


KEY WORDS: Dopamine, Melanin, L-Cysteine, N-Acetylcysteine, DFT calculations


Bull. Chem. Soc. Ethiop. 2016, 30(3), 437-448


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eISSN: 1726-801X
print ISSN: 1011-3924