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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Sep 1;95(18):10378-83.

Nitric oxide dioxygenase: an enzymic function for flavohemoglobin.

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  • 1Division of Critical Care Medicine, Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Nitric oxide (NO*) is a toxin, and various life forms appear to have evolved strategies for its detoxification. NO*-resistant mutants of Escherichia coli were isolated that rapidly consumed NO*. An NO*-converting activity was reconstituted in extracts that required NADPH, FAD, and O2, was cyanide-sensitive, and produced NO3-. This nitric oxide dioxygenase (NOD) contained 19 of 20 N-terminal amino acids identical to those of the E. coli flavohemoglobin. Furthermore, NOD activity was produced by the flavohemoglobin gene and was inducible by NO*. Flavohemoglobin/NOD-deficient mutants were also sensitive to growth inhibition by gaseous NO*. The results identify a function for the evolutionarily conserved flavohemoglobins and, moreover, suggest that NO* detoxification may be a more ancient function for the widely distributed hemoglobins, and associated methemoglobin reductases, than dioxygen transport and storage.

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