Nitric oxide synthase is a cytochrome P-450 type hemoprotein.
ABSTRACT Nitric oxide has emerged as an important mammalian metabolic intermediate involved in critical physiological functions such as vasodilation, neuronal transmission, and cytostasis. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) catalyzes the five-electron oxidation of L-arginine to citrulline and nitric oxide. Cosubstrates for the reaction include molecular oxygen and NADPH. In addition, there is a requirement for tetrahydrobiopterin. NOS also contains the coenzymes FAD and FMN and demonstrates significant amino acid sequence homology to NADPH-cytochrome P-450 reductase. Herein we report the identification of the inducible macrophage NOS as a cytochrome P-450 type hemoprotein. The pyridine hemochrome assay showed that the NOS contained a bound protoporphyrin IX heme. The reduced carbon monoxide binding spectrum shows an absorption maximum at 447 nm indicative of a cytochrome P-450 hemoprotein. A mixture of carbon monoxide and oxygen (80%/20%) potently inhibited the reaction (73-79%), showing that the heme functions directly in the oxidative conversion of L-arginine to nitric oxide and citrulline. Additionally, partially purified NOS from rat cerebellum was inhibited by CO, suggesting that this isoform may also contain a P-450-type heme. NOS is the first example of a soluble cytochrome P-450 in eukaryotes. In addition, the presence of FAD and FMN indicates that this is the first catalytically self-sufficient mammalian P-450 enzyme, containing both a reductase and a heme domain on the same polypeptide.
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ABSTRACT: Modern molecular biology has revealed vast numbers of large and complex proteins and genes that regulate body function. By contrast, discoveries over the past ten years indicate that crucial features of neuronal communication, blood vessel modulation and immune response are mediated by a remarkably simple chemical, nitric oxide (NO). Endogenous NO is generated from arginine by a family of three distinct calmodulin- dependent NO synthase (NOS) enzymes. NOS from endothelial cells (eNOS) and neurons (nNOS) are both constitutively expressed enzymes, whose activities are stimulated by increases in intracellular calcium. Immune functions for NO are mediated by a calcium-independent inducible NOS (iNOS). Expression of iNOS protein requires transcriptional activation, which is mediated by specific combinations of cytokines. All three NOS use NADPH as an electron donor and employ five enzyme cofactors to catalyze a five-electron oxidation of arginine to NO with stoichiometric formation of citrulline. The highest levels of NO throughout the body are found in neurons, where NO functions as a unique messenger molecule. In the autonomic nervous system NO functions NO functions as a major non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) neurotransmitter. This NANC pathway plays a particularly important role in producing relaxation of smooth muscle in the cerebral circulation and the gastrointestinal, urogenital and respiratory tracts. Dysregulation of NOS activity in autonomic nerves plays a major role in diverse pathophysiological conditions including migraine headache, hypertrophic pyloric stenosis and male impotence. In the brain, NO functions as a neuromodulator and appears to mediate aspects of learning and memory. Although endogenous NO was originally appreciated as a mediator of smooth muscle relaxation, NO also plays a major role in skeletal muscle. Physiologically muscle-derived NO regulates skeletal muscle contractility and exercise-induced glucose uptake. nNOS occurs at the plasma membrane of skeletal muscle which facilitates diffusion of NO to the vasculature to regulate muscle perfusion. nNOS protein occurs in the dystrophin complex in skeletal muscle and NO may therefore participate in the pathophysiology of muscular dystrophy. NO signalling in excitable tissues requires rapid and controlled delivery of NO to specific cellular targets. This tight control of NO signalling is largely regulated at the level of NO biosynthesis. Acute control of nNOS activity is mediated by allosteric enzyme regulation, by posttranslational modification and by subcellular targeting of the enzyme. nNOS protein levels are also dynamically regulated by changes in gene transcription, and this affords long-lasting changes in tissue NO levels. While NO normally functions as a physiological neuronal mediator, excess production of NO mediates brain injury. Overactivation of glutamate receptors associated with cerebral ischemia and other excitotoxic processes results in massive release of NO. As a free radical, NO is inherently reactive and mediates cellular toxicity by damaging critical metabolic enzymes and by reacting with superoxide to form an even more potent oxidant, peroxynitrite. Through these mechanisms, NO appears to play a major role in the pathophysiology of stroke, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Free Radical Research 01/2000; 31(6):577-96. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) is a ubiquitous, naturally occurring molecule found in a variety of cell types and organ systems. In the cardiovascular system, NO is an important determinant of basal vascular tone, prevents platelet activation, limits leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium, and regulates myocardial contractility. NO may also play a role in the pathogenesis of common cardiovascular disorders, including hypotension accompanying shock states, essential hypertension, and atherosclerosis. In this review, we discuss the biochemistry of NO and focus on its biology and pathophysiology in the cardiovascular system.Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 01/1995; 38(2):87-104. · 4.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An initial stage of many neurodegenerative processes is associated with compromised synaptic function and precedes synapse loss, neurite fragmentation, and neuronal death. We showed previously that deficiency of heme, regulating many proteins of pharmacological importance, causes neurodegeneration of primary cortical neurons via N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-dependent suppression of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 pathway. Here, we asked whether the reduction of heme causes synaptic perturbation before neurite fragmentation in neuronal cultures and investigated molecular mechanisms of synaptic dysfunction in these cells. We showed the change in the NR2B subunit phosphorylation that correlates with compromised NMDAR function after the reduction of regulatory heme and a rapid rescue of NR2B phosphorylation and NMDAR function by exogenous heme. Electrophysiological recordings demonstrated diminished NMDAR currents and NMDAR-mediated calcium influx after 24 h of inhibition of heme synthesis. These effects were reversed by treatment with heme; however, inhibition of the Src family kinases abolished the rescue effect of heme on NMDA-evoked currents. Diminished NMDAR current and Ca(2+) influx resulted in suppressed cGMP production and impairment of spine formation. Exogenous heme exerted rescue effects on NR2B tyrosine phosphorylation and NMDA-evoked currents within minutes, suggesting direct interactions within the NMDAR complex. These synaptic changes after inhibition of heme synthesis occurred at this stage without apparent dysfunction of major hemoproteins. We conclude that regulatory heme is necessary in maintaining NR2B phosphorylation and NMDAR function. NMDAR failure occurs before neurite fragmentation and may be a causal factor in neurodegeneration; this could suggest a route for an early pharmacological intervention.Molecular pharmacology 02/2011; 79(5):844-54. · 4.53 Impact Factor