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Cell. 1996 Sep 6;86(5):719-29.

Nitrosative stress: activation of the transcription factor OxyR.

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Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) imposes an oxidative stress to Escherichia coli that is manifested by oxidation of glutathione and related redox-sensitive targets. OxyR is a thiol-containing transcriptional activator whose oxidation controls the expression of genes involved in H2O2 detoxification. Here we report that certain S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) impose what we term a "nitrosative stress" to E. coli, evidenced by lowering of intracellular thiol and the transcriptional activation of OxyR by S-nitrosylation. This cellular and genetic response determines the metabolic fate of RSNOs and thereby contributes to bacterial rescue from stasis. Our studies reveal that signaling by S-nitrosylation can extend to the level of transcription and describe a metabolic pathway that constitutes an adaptation to nitrosative stress.

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