Protection from nitrosative stress: a central role for microbial flavohemoglobin.
Nitric oxide (NO) is an inevitable product of life in an oxygen- and nitrogen-rich environment. This reactive diatomic molecule exhibits microbial cytotoxicity, in large part by facilitating nitrosative stress and inhibiting heme-containing proteins within the aerobic respiratory chain. Metabolism of NO is therefore essential for microbial life. In many bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, the evolutionarily ancient flavohemoglobin (flavoHb) converts NO and O(2) to inert nitrate (NO(3)(-)) and undergoes catalytic regeneration via flavin-dependent reduction. Since its identification, widespread efforts have characterized roles for flavoHb in microbial nitrosative stress protection. Subsequent genomic studies focused on flavoHb have elucidated the transcriptional machinery necessary for inducible NO protection, such as NsrR in Escherichia coli, as well as additional proteins that constitute a nitrosative stress protection program. As an alternative strategy, flavoHb has been heterologously employed in higher eukaryotic organisms such as plants and human tumors to probe the function(s) of endogenous NO signaling. Such an approach may also provide a therapeutic route to in vivo NO depletion. Here we focus on the molecular features of flavoHb, the hitherto characterized NO-sensitive transcriptional machinery responsible for its induction, the roles of flavoHb in resisting mammalian host defense systems, and heterologous applications of flavoHb in plant/mammalian systems (including human tumors), as well as unresolved questions surrounding this paradigmatic NO-consuming enzyme.
Forrester, MT; Foster, MW
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