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J Biol Chem. 2002 May 17;277(20):17415-27. Epub 2002 Feb 27.

A tale of two controversies: defining both the role of peroxidases in nitrotyrosine formation in vivo using eosinophil peroxidase and myeloperoxidase-deficient mice, and the nature of peroxidase-generated reactive nitrogen species.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Nitrotyrosine is widely used as a marker of post-translational modification by the nitric oxide ((.)NO, nitrogen monoxide)-derived oxidant peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)). However, since the discovery that myeloperoxidase (MPO) and eosinophil peroxidase (EPO) can generate nitrotyrosine via oxidation of nitrite (NO(2)(-)), several questions have arisen. First, the relative contribution of peroxidases to nitrotyrosine formation in vivo is unknown. Further, although evidence suggests that the one-electron oxidation product, nitrogen dioxide ((*)NO(2)), is the primary species formed, neither a direct demonstration that peroxidases form this gas nor studies designed to test for the possible concomitant formation of the two-electron oxidation product, ONOO(-), have been reported. Using multiple distinct models of acute inflammation with EPO- and MPO-knockout mice, we now demonstrate that leukocyte peroxidases participate in nitrotyrosine formation in vivo. In some models, MPO and EPO played a dominant role, accounting for the majority of nitrotyrosine formed. However, in other leukocyte-rich acute inflammatory models, no contribution for either MPO or EPO to nitrotyrosine formation could be demonstrated. Head-space gas analysis of helium-swept reaction mixtures provides direct evidence that leukocyte peroxidases catalytically generate (*)NO(2) formation using H(2)O(2) and NO(2)(-) as substrates. However, formation of an additional oxidant was suggested since both enzymes promote NO(2)(-)-dependent hydroxylation of targets under acidic conditions, a chemical reactivity shared with ONOO(-) but not (*)NO(2). Collectively, our results demonstrate that: 1) MPO and EPO contribute to tyrosine nitration in vivo; 2) the major reactive nitrogen species formed by leukocyte peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation of NO(2)(-) is the one-electron oxidation product, (*)NO(2); 3) as a minor reaction, peroxidases may also catalyze the two-electron oxidation of NO(2)(-), producing a ONOO(-)-like product. We speculate that the latter reaction generates a labile Fe-ONOO complex, which may be released following protonation under acidic conditions such as might exist at sites of inflammation.

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