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Amino Acids. 2003 Dec;25(3-4):295-311. Epub 2003 Sep 26.

Peroxynitrite reactivity with amino acids and proteins.

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Laboratorio de EnzimologĂ­a, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la RepĂșblica, Montevideo, Uruguay.


Peroxynitrite, the product of the fast reaction between nitric oxide ((*)NO) and superoxide O(2)(*-) radicals, is an oxidizing and nitrating agent which is able to traverse biological membranes. The reaction of peroxynitrite with proteins occurs through three possible pathways. First, peroxynitrite reacts directly with cysteine, methionine and tryptophan residues. Second, peroxynitrite reacts fast with transition metal centers and selenium-containing amino acids. Third, secondary free radicals arising from peroxynitrite homolysis such as hydroxyl and nitrogen dioxide, and the carbonate radical formed in the presence of carbon dioxide, react with protein moieties too. Nitration of tyrosine residues is being recognized as a marker of the contribution of nitric oxide to oxidative damage. Peroxynitrite-dependent tyrosine nitration is likely to occur through the initial reaction of peroxynitrite with carbon dioxide or metal centers leading to secondary nitrating species. The preferential protein targets of peroxynitrite and the role of proteins in peroxynitrite detoxifying pathways are discussed.

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