Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Oct;110 Suppl 5:709-11.

Formation of reactive nitrogen species at biologic heme centers: a potential mechanism of nitric oxide-dependent toxicity.

Author information

Dipartimento di Chimica Generale, Università di Pavia, via Taramelli 12, 27100 Pavia, Italy.


The peroxidase-catalyzed nitration of tyrosine derivatives by nitrite and hydrogen peroxide has been studied in detail using the enzymes lactoperoxidase (LPO) from bovine milk and horseradish peroxidase (HRP). The results indicate the existence of two competing pathways, in which the nitrating species is either nitrogen dioxide or peroxynitrite. The first pathway involves one-electron oxidation of nitrite by the classical peroxidase intermediates compound I and compound II, whereas in the second pathway peroxynitrite is generated by reaction between enzyme-bound nitrite and hydrogen peroxide. The two mechanisms can be simultaneously operative, and their relative importance depends on the reagent concentrations. With HRP the peroxynitrite pathway contributes significantly only at relatively high nitrite concentrations, but for LPO this represents the main pathway even at relatively low (pathophysiological) nitrite concentrations and explains the high efficiency of the enzyme in the nitration. Myoglobin and hemoglobin are also active in the nitration of phenolic compounds, albeit with lower efficiency compared with peroxidases. In the case of myoglobin, endogenous nitration of the protein has been shown to occur in the absence of substrate. The main nitration site is the heme, but a small fraction of nitrated Tyr146 residue has been identified upon proteolytic digestion and high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of the peptide fragments. Preliminary investigation of the nitration of tryptophan derivatives by the peroxidase/nitrite/hydrogen peroxide systems shows that a complex pattern of isomeric nitration products is produced, and this pattern varies with nitrite concentration. Comparative experiments using chemical nitrating agents indicate that at low nitrite concentrations, the enzymatic nitration produces a regioisomeric mixture of nitrotryptophanyl derivatives resembling that obtained using nitrogen dioxide, whereas at high nitrite concentrations the product pattern resembles that obtained using peroxynitrite.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center