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Nitric Oxide. 2001 Apr;5(2):187-97.

Caveolar localization of arginine regeneration enzymes, argininosuccinate synthase, and lyase, with endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa 33612, USA.


Although normal intracellular levels of arginine are well above the K(m), and should be sufficient to saturate nitric oxide synthase in vascular endothelial cells, nitric oxide production can, nonetheless, be stimulated by exogenous arginine. This phenomenon, termed the "arginine paradox," has suggested the existence of a separate pool of arginine directed to nitric oxide synthesis. In this study, we demonstrate that exogenous citrulline was as effective as exogenous arginine in stimulating nitric oxide production and that citrulline in the presence of excess intracellular and extracellular arginine further enhanced bradykinin stimulated endothelial nitric oxide production. The enhancement of nitric oxide production by exogenous citrulline could therefore be attributed to the capacity of vascular endothelial cells to efficiently regenerate arginine from citrulline. However, the regeneration of arginine did not affect the bulk intracellular arginine levels. This finding not only supports the proposal for a unique pool of arginine, but also suggested channeling of substrates that would require a functional association between nitric oxide production and arginine regeneration. To support this proposal, we showed that nitric oxide synthase, and the enzymes involved in arginine regeneration, argininosuccinate synthase and argininosuccinate lyase, cofractionated with plasmalemmal caveolae, a subcompartment of the plasma membrane. Overall, the results from this study strongly support the proposal for a separate pool of arginine for nitric oxide production that is defined by the cellular colocalization of enzymes involved in nitric oxide production and the regeneration of arginine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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