A genetic analysis of nitrosative stress

Biochemistry. 2009 Feb 3;48(4):792-9. doi: 10.1021/bi801813n.


Nitrosative stress is induced by pathophysiological levels of nitric oxide (NO) and S-nitrosothiols (e.g., S-nitrosoglutathione, GSNO) and arises, at least in significant part, from the nitrosylation of critical protein Cys thiols (S-nitrosylation) and metallocofactors. However, the mechanisms by which NO and GSNO mediate nitrosative stress are not well understood. Using yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains lacking NO- and/or GSNO-consuming enzymes (flavohemoglobin and GSNO reductase, respectively), we measured the individual and combined effects of NO and GSNO on both cell growth and the formation of protein-bound NO species. Our results suggest an intracellular equilibrium between NO and GSNO, dependent in part on cell-catalyzed release of NO from GSNO (i.e., "SNO-lyase" activity). However, whereas NO induces multiple types of protein-based modifications, levels of which correlate with inhibition of cell growth, GSNO mainly affects protein S-nitrosylation, and the relationship between S-nitrosylation and nitrosative stress is more complex. These data support the idea of multiple classes of protein-SNO, likely reflected in divergent routes of synthesis and degradation. Indeed, a significant fraction of protein S-nitrosylation by NO occurs in the absence of O(2), which is commonly assumed to drive this reaction but instead is apparently dependent in substantial part upon protein-bound transition metals. Additionally, our findings suggest that nitrosative stress is mediated principally via the S-nitrosylation of a subset of protein targets, which include protein SNOs that are stable to cellular glutathione (and thus are not metabolized by GSNO reductase). Collectively, these results provide new evidence for the mechanisms through which NO and GSNO mediate nitrosative stress as well as the cellular pathways of protein S-nitrosylation and denitrosylation involving metalloproteins, SNO lyase(s) and GSNO reductase.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / chemistry*
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / deficiency
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Cysteine / chemistry
  • Dioxygenases
  • Glutathione Reductase / chemistry
  • Glutathione Reductase / deficiency
  • Glutathione Reductase / genetics
  • Hemeproteins / deficiency
  • Hemeproteins / genetics
  • Hemeproteins / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide / chemistry*
  • Nitric Oxide / deficiency
  • Nitric Oxide / genetics*
  • Nitrosation / genetics
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics*
  • Oxygenases / deficiency
  • Oxygenases / genetics
  • S-Nitrosoglutathione / chemistry
  • S-Nitrosoglutathione / metabolism
  • S-Nitrosothiols / chemistry*
  • S-Nitrosothiols / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / chemistry


  • Hemeproteins
  • S-Nitrosothiols
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Nitric Oxide
  • S-Nitrosoglutathione
  • Oxygenases
  • Dioxygenases
  • flavohemoglobin denitrosylase
  • YHB1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • formaldehyde dehydrogenase, glutathione-independent
  • Glutathione Reductase
  • Cysteine