Nitric oxide and cell signaling: modulation of redox tone and protein modification

Amino Acids. 2003 Dec;25(3-4):313-21. doi: 10.1007/s00726-003-0019-7. Epub 2003 Aug 28.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) have an impact on many cellular processes, often serving as signal transducers in both physiological and pathological situations. These small molecules can act as ligands for receptors as is the case for nitric oxide and guanylate cyclase. However, they can also modify proteins, changing their function and establishing a baseline for other signals in a process that we have termed "redox tone." In this review, we discuss the different mechanisms of redox cell signaling, and give specific examples of RNS participation in cell signaling via classical and redox tone pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Proteins
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Cysteine