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Mol Pharmacol. 2012 Feb;81(2):143-53. doi: 10.1124/mol.111.075804. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Uterine smooth muscle S-nitrosylproteome in pregnancy.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA.


The molecular mechanisms involved in uterine quiescence during gestation and those responsible for induction of labor are not completely known. Nitric oxide relaxes uterine smooth muscle in a manner disparate from that for other smooth muscles because global elevation of cGMP after activation of soluble guanylyl cyclase does not relax the muscle. S-Nitrosylation, the covalent addition of an nitric oxide (NO) group to a cysteine thiol is a likely mechanism to explain the ability of NO to relax myometrium. This work is the first to describe the myometrial S-nitrosylproteome in both pregnant and nonpregnant tissue states. Using the guinea pig model, we show that specific sets of proteins involved in contraction and relaxation are S-nitrosylated in laboring and nonlaboring muscle and that many of these proteins are uniquely S-nitrosylated in only one state of the tissue. In particular, we show that S-nitrosylation of the intermediate filament protein desmin is significantly increased (5.7-fold, p < 0.005) in pregnancy and that this increase cannot be attributed solely to the increase in protein expression (1.8-fold, p < 0.005) that accompanies pregnancy. Elucidation of the myometrial S-nitrosylproteome provides a list of mechanistically important proteins that can constitute the basis of hypotheses formed to explain the regulation of uterine contraction/relaxation.

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