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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2004 Aug;287(2):L262-8.

Biological significance of nitric oxide-mediated protein modifications.

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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Abramson Research Center, Rm 416, 34th & Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Nitric oxide (NO), despite an apparently simple diatomic structure, has a wide variety of functions in both physiology and pathology and within every major organ system. It has become an increasingly important scientific challenge to decipher how this wide range of activity is achieved. To this end a number of investigators have begun to explore how NO-mediated posttranslational modifications of proteins may represent mechanisms of cellular signaling. These modifications include: 1). binding to metal centers; 2). nitrosylation of thiol and amine groups; 3). nitration of tyrosine, tryptophan, amine, carboxylic acid, and phenylalanine groups; and 4). oxidation of thiols (both cysteine and methionine residues) and tyrosine. However, two particular modifications have recently received much attention, nitrosylation of thiols to produce S-nitrosothiol and nitration of tyrosine residues to produce nitrotyrosine. It is the purpose of this review to examine the possibility that these modifications may play a role in NO-mediated signaling.

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