Biological selectivity and functional aspects of protein tyrosine nitration

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Jun 6;305(3):776-83. doi: 10.1016/s0006-291x(03)00814-3.


The formation of nitric oxide in biological systems has led to the discovery of a number of post-translational protein modifications that could regulate protein function or potentially be utilized as transducers of nitric oxide signaling. Principal among the nitric oxide-mediated protein modifications are: the nitric oxide-iron heme binding, the S-nitrosylation of reduced cysteine residues, and the C-nitration of tyrosine and tryptophan residues. With the exception of the nitric oxide binding to heme iron proteins, the other two modifications appear to require secondary reactions of nitric oxide and the formation of nitrogen oxides. The rapid development of analytical and immunological methodologies has allowed for the quantification of S-nitrosylated and C-nitrated proteins in vivo revealing an apparent selectivity and specificity of the proteins modified. This review is primarily focused upon the nitration of tyrosine residues discussing parameters that may govern the in vivo selectivity of protein nitration, and the potential biological significance and clinical relevance of this nitric oxide-mediated protein modification.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tyrosine / analysis
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine