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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1992 Nov 1;298(2):438-45.

Kinetics of superoxide dismutase- and iron-catalyzed nitration of phenolics by peroxynitrite.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


Superoxide dismutase and Fe3+EDTA catalyzed the nitration by peroxynitrite (ONOO-) of a wide range of phenolics including tyrosine in proteins. Nitration was not mediated by a free radical mechanism because hydroxyl radical scavengers did not reduce either superoxide dismutase or Fe3+EDTA-catalyzed nitration and nitrogen dioxide was not a significant product from either catalyst. Rather, metal ions appear to catalyze the heterolytic cleavage of peroxynitrite to form a nitronium-like species (NO2+). The calculated energy for separating peroxynitrous acid into hydroxide ion and nitronium ion is 13 kcal.mol-1 at pH 7.0. Fe3+EDTA catalyzed nitration with an activation energy of 12 kcal.mol-1 at a rate of 5700 M-1.s-1 at 37 degrees C and pH 7.5. The reaction rate of peroxynitrite with bovine Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase was 10(5) M-1.s-1 at low superoxide dismutase concentrations, but the rate of nitration became independent of superoxide dismutase concentration above 10 microM with only 9% of added peroxynitrite yielding nitrophenol. We propose that peroxynitrite anion is more stable in the cis conformation, whereas only a higher energy species in the trans conformation can fit in the active site of Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase. At high superoxide dismutase concentrations, phenolic nitration may be limited by the rate of isomerization from the cis to trans conformations of peroxynitrite as well as by competing pathways for peroxynitrite decomposition. In contrast, Fe3+EDTA appears to react directly with the cis anion, resulting in greater nitration yields.

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