Chemical Component Summary

Identifiers(2S)-2-amino-3-methyl-3-sulfanyl-butanoic acid
FormulaC5 H11 N O2 S
Molecular Weight149.21
Isomeric SMILESCC(C)(S)[C@@H](N)C(O)=O

Chemical Details

Formal Charge0
Atom Count20
Chiral Atom Count1
Chiral AtomsCA
Bond Count19
Aromatic Bond Count0
Leaving AtomsHN2, OXT, HXT

Drug Info: DrugBank

DrugBank IDDB00859 Different stereochemistry
DescriptionPenicillamine is a pharmaceutical of the chelator class. The pharmaceutical form is D-penicillamine, as L-penicillamine is toxic (it inhibits the action of pyridoxine). It is an α-amino acid metabolite of penicillin, although it has no antibiotic properties.
  • (−)-penicillamine
  • (S)-2-amino-3-mercapto-3-methylbutanoic acid
  • (S)-3,3-dimethylcysteine
  • 3-mercapto-D-valine
  • D-(−)-penicillamine
Brand Names
  • Cuprimine
  • Depen
  • Depen Tab 250mg
  • Atamir
Affected OrganismHumans and other mammals
IndicationFor treatment of Wilson's disease, cystinuria and active rheumatoid arthritis.
PharmacologyPenicillamine is a chelating agent used in the treatment of Wilson's disease. It is also used to reduce cystine excretion in cystinuria and to treat patients with severe, active rheumatoid arthritis unresponsive to conventional therapy. Penicillamine is used as a form of immunosuppression to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It works by reducing numbers of T-lymphocytes, inhibiting macrophage function, decreasing IL-1, decreasing rheumatoid factor, and preventing collagen from cross-linking. Its use in Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder of copper metabolism, relies on its binding to accumulated copper and elimination through urine.
Mechanism of actionPenicillamine is a chelating agent recommended for the removal of excess copper in patients with Wilson's disease. From in vitro studies which indicate that one atom of copper combines with two molecules of penicillamine. Penicillamine also reduces excess cystine excretion in cystinuria. This is done, at least in part, by disulfide interchange between penicillamine and cystine, resulting in formation of penicillamine-cysteine disulfide, a substance that is much more soluble than cystine and is excreted readily. Penicillamine interferes with the formation of cross-links between tropocollagen molecules and cleaves them when newly formed. The mechanism of action of penicillamine in rheumatoid arthritis is unknown although it appears to suppress disease activity. Unlike cytotoxic immunosuppressants, penicillamine markedly lowers IgM rheumatoid factor but produces no significant depression in absolute levels of serum immunoglobulins. Also unlike cytotoxic immunosuppressants which act on both, penicillamine in vitro depresses T-cell activity but not B-cell activity.
Route of administrationOral
  • Amino Acids
  • Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins
  • Amino Acids, Sulfur
  • Antidotes
  • Antiinflammatory and Antirheumatic Products
CAS number52-67-5

Drug Targets

NameSequence SearchPharmacological ActionActions
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682