Nitric oxide and the regulation of gene expression

Trends Cell Biol. 2001 Feb;11(2):66-75. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(00)01900-0.


During the past 15 years, nitric oxide (NO) and NO synthases have become an important research topic in cellular and molecular biology. NO is produced by many if not all mammalian cells and fulfils a broad spectrum of signaling functions in physiological and pathophysiological processes. In this review, recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms by which NO regulates the expression of eukaryotic genes will be summarized. The currently available data illustrate that NO has multiple molecular targets: it can not only directly influence the activity of transcription factors but also modulates upstream signaling cascades, mRNA stability and translation, as well as the processing of the primary gene products.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Iron-Regulatory Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Iron-Regulatory Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase