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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Nov 9;96(23):13136-41.

Requirements for heme and thiols for the nonenzymatic modification of nitrotyrosine.

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  • 1Department of Integrative Biology, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Houston Medical School, 6431 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Peroxynitrite-dependent formation of nitrotyrosine has been associated with inactivation of various enzymes and proteins possessing functionally important tyrosines. We have previously reported an enzymatic activity modifying the nitrotyrosine residues in nitrated proteins. Here we are describing a nonenzymatic reduction of nitrotyrosine to aminotyrosine, which depends on heme and thiols. Various heme-containing proteins can mediate the reaction, although the reaction also is catalyzed by heme. The reaction is most effective when vicinal thiols are used as reducing agents, although ascorbic acid also can replace thiols with lesser efficiency. The reaction could be inhibited by (z)-1-[2-(2-aminoethyl)-N-(2-ammonioethyl)amino]diazen-1- ium-1, but not other tested NO donors. HPLC with electrochemical detection analysis of the reaction identified aminotyrosine as the only reaction product. The reduction of nitrotyrosine was most effective at a pH close to physiological and was markedly decreased in acidic conditions. Various nitrophenol compounds also were modified in this reaction. Understanding the mechanism of this reaction could help define the enzymatic modification of nitrotyrosine-containing proteins. Furthermore, this also could assist in understanding the role of nitrotyrosine formation and reversal in the regulation of various proteins containing nitrotyrosine. It also could help define the role of nitric oxide and other reactive species in various disease states.

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