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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1995 Jun 1;319(2):491-7.

Kinetics of cytochrome c2+ oxidation by peroxynitrite: implications for superoxide measurements in nitric oxide-producing biological systems.

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Department of Biochemistry, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la Rep├║blica, Montevideo, Uruguay.


Cytochrome c3+ has been extensively used for the detection of superoxide produced in biological systems due to its fast superoxide-mediated reduction to cytochrome c2+. However, another biomolecule which is sometimes cogenerated with superoxide, nitric oxide, reacts with superoxide at almost diffusion-controlled rates (6.7 x 10(9) M-1 s-1), leading to the production of a highly oxidizing species, peroxynitrite anion (ONOO-). In this work we report that peroxynitrite readily oxidizes cytochrome c2+ to cytochrome c3+ in an ascorbate-reversible manner. The reaction between peroxynitrite and cytochrome c2+ occurs with a second-order rate constant of 2.3 x 10(5) M-1 s-1. The pH dependence of the apparent second-order rate constants as well as the effect of different scavengers indicated that peroxynitrous acid (ONOOH) in the ground state was the actual species responsible of cytochrome c2+ oxidation. The activation enthalpy, free energy, and entropy were +10.8 kcal mol-1, +11.8 kcal mol-1, and -3.15 cal mol-1 K-1, respectively, in agreement with the proposed reaction mechanism. Additionally, our results imply that when quantitating superoxide by the cytochrome c3+ reduction method, the existence of a simultaneous generation of nitric oxide and peroxynitrite may lead to an underestimation of the rates of superoxide production.

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