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Free Radic Biol Med. 2005 Sep 15;39(6):728-41.

Tyrosine nitration by superoxide and nitric oxide fluxes in biological systems: modeling the impact of superoxide dismutase and nitric oxide diffusion.

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Departamento de Bioquímica and Center for Free Radical and Biomedical Research, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.

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  • Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Jan 15;40(2):359.


Tyrosine nitration is a posttranslational modification observed in many pathologic states that can be associated with peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) formation. However, in vitro, peroxynitrite-dependent tyrosine nitration is inhibited when its precursors, superoxide (O(2)*(-)) and nitric oxide ((*)NO), are formed at ratios (O(2)*(-)/(*)NO) different from one, severely questioning the use of 3-nitrotyrosine as a biomarker of peroxynitrite-mediated oxidations. We herein hypothesize that in biological systems the presence of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and the facile transmembrane diffusion of (*)NO preclude accumulation of O(2)*(-) and (*)NO radicals under flux ratios different from one, preventing the secondary reactions that result in the inhibition of 3-nitrotyrosine formation. Using an array of reactions and kinetic constants, computer-assisted simulations were performed in order to assess the flux of 3-nitrotyrosine formation (J(NO(2(-))Y)) during exposure to simultaneous fluxes of superoxide (J(O(2)*(-))) and nitric oxide (J((*)NO)), varying the radical flux ratios (J(O(2)*(-))/ J((*)NO)), in the presence of carbon dioxide. With a basic set of reactions, J(NO(2(-))Y) as a function of radical flux ratios rendered a bell-shape profile, in complete agreement with previous reports. However, when superoxide dismutation by SOD and (*)NO decay due to diffusion out of the compartment were incorporated in the model, a quite different profile of J(NO(2(-))Y) as a function of the radical flux ratio was obtained: despite the fact that nitration yields were much lower, the bell-shape profile was lost and the extent of tyrosine nitration was responsive to increases in either O(2)*(-) or (*)NO, in agreement with in vivo observations. Thus, the model presented herein serves to reconcile the in vitro and in vivo evidence on the role of peroxynitrite in promoting tyrosine nitration.

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