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Ann Med. 2003;35(1):21-7.

Signaling through NO and cGMP-dependent protein kinases.

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Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Technische Universität München, Germany.


The gaseous molecule nitric oxide (NO) modulates a large variety of physiological functions including vascular tone, intestinal motility, platelet aggregation, proliferation, apoptosis, and neurotransmission. NO initiates diverse cellular signaling cascades which comprise nitrosylation of proteins, adenosine 5'-diphosphate (ADP)-ribosylation, or stimulation of soluble guanylyl cyclases which catalyze intracellular guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) synthesis. cGMP activates cGMP-dependent protein kinases (cGK) which mediate localized and global signaling. Furthermore, cGMP regulates the activity of phosphodiesterases (PDE) which modulate the duration and amplitude of cyclic nucleotide signaling. Two different types of cGK are expressed in mammals, cGKI and cGKII. Activation of the NO/cGMP/cGKI pathway induces relaxation of smooth muscle by lowering the cytosolic calcium level and/or by calcium desensitization of the contractile elements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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