Aminoguanidine-mediated inactivation and alteration of neuronal nitric-oxide synthase

J Biol Chem. 2000 May 5;275(18):13370-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.275.18.13370.


It is established that aminoguanidine (AG) is a metabolism-based inactivator of the three major isoforms of nitric-oxide synthase. AG is thought to be of potential use in diseases, such as diabetes, where pathological overproduction of NO is implicated. We show here that during the inactivation of neuronal nitric-oxide synthase (nNOS) by AG that the prosthetic heme is altered, in part, to dissociable and protein-bound adducts. The protein-bound heme adduct is the result of cross-linking of the heme to residues in the oxygenase domain of nNOS. The dissociable heme product is unstable and reverts back to heme upon isolation. The alteration of the heme is concomitant with the loss in the ability to form the ferrous-CO complex of nNOS and accounts for at least two-thirds of the activity loss. Studies with [(14)C]AG indicate that alteration of the protein, in part on the reductase domain of nNOS, also occurs but at low levels. Thus, heme alteration appears to be the major cause of nNOS inactivation. The elucidation of the mechanism of inactivation of nNOS will likely lead to a better understanding of the in vivo effects of NOS inhibitors such as AG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Guanidines / pharmacology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Guanidines
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • pimagedine