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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 Aug;74(8):3203-7.

Nitric oxide activates guanylate cyclase and increases guanosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate levels in various tissue preparations.


Nitric oxide gas (NO) increased guanylate cyclase [GTP pyrophosphate-lyase (cyclizing), EC] activity in soluble and particulate preparations from various tissues. The effect was dose-dependent and was observed with all tissue preparations examined. The extent of activation was variable among different tissue preparations and was greatest (19- to 33-fold) with supernatant fractions of homogenates from liver, lung, tracheal smooth muscle, heart, kidney, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum. Smaller effects (5- to 14-fold) were observed with supernatant fractions from skeletal muscle, spleen, intestinal muscle, adrenal, and epididymal fat. Activation was also observed with partially purified preparations of guanylate cyclase. Activation of rat liver supernatant preparations was augmented slightly with reducing agents, decreased with some oxidizing agents, and greater in a nitrogen than in an oxygen atmosphere. After activation with NO, guanylate cyclase activity decreased with a half-life of 3-4 at 4 degrees but re-exposure to NO resulted in reactivation of preparations. Sodium azide, sodium nitrite, hydroxylamine, and sodium nitroprusside also increased guanylate cyclase activity as reported previously. NO alone and in combination with these agents produced approximately the same degree of maximal activation, suggesting that all of these agents act through a similar mechanism. NO also increased the accumulation of cyclic GMP but not cyclic AMP in incubations of minces from various rat tissues. We propose that various nitro compounds and those capable of forming NO in incubations activate guanylate cyclase through a similar but undefined mechanism. These effects may explain the high activities of guanylate cyclase in certain tissues (e.g., lung and intestinal mucosa) that are exposed to environmental nitro compounds.

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