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J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 3;275(9):6346-52.

Dityrosine formation outcompetes tyrosine nitration at low steady-state concentrations of peroxynitrite. Implications for tyrosine modification by nitric oxide/superoxide in vivo.

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  • 1Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, A-8010 Graz, Austria.


Formation of peroxynitrite from NO and O-(*2) is considered an important trigger for cellular tyrosine nitration under pathophysiological conditions. However, this view has been questioned by a recent report indicating that NO and O-(*2) generated simultaneously from (Z)-1-(N-[3-aminopropyl]-N-[4-(3-aminopropylammonio)butyl]-amino) diazen-1-ium-1,2-diolate] (SPER/NO) and hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase, respectively, exhibit much lower nitrating efficiency than authentic peroxynitrite (Pfeiffer, S. and Mayer, B. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 27280-27285). The present study extends those earlier findings to several alternative NO/O-(*2)-generating systems and provides evidence that the apparent lack of tyrosine nitration by NO/O-(*2) is due to a pronounced decrease of nitration efficiency at low steady-state concentrations of authentic peroxynitrite. The decrease in the yields of 3-nitrotyrosine was accompanied by an increase in the recovery of dityrosine, showing that dimerization of tyrosine radicals outcompetes the nitration reaction at low peroxynitrite concentrations. The observed inverse dependence on peroxynitrite concentration of dityrosine formation and tyrosine nitration is predicted by a kinetic model assuming that radical formation by peroxynitrous acid homolysis results in the generation of tyrosyl radicals that either dimerize to yield dityrosine or combine with (*)NO(2) radical to form 3-nitrotyrosine. The present results demonstrate that very high fluxes (>2 microM/s) of NO/O-(*2) are required to render peroxynitrite an efficient trigger of tyrosine nitration and that dityrosine is a major product of tyrosine modification caused by low steady-state concentrations of peroxynitrite.

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