Nitric oxide and cellular respiration
- Cite this article as:
- Brunori, M., Giuffrè, A., Sarti, P. et al. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (1999) 56: 549. doi:10.1007/s000180050452
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The role of nitric oxide (NO) as a signalling molecule involved in many pathophysiological processes (e.g., smooth muscle relaxation, inflammation, neurotransmission, apoptosis) has been elaborated during the last decade. Since NO has also been found to inhibit cellular respiration, we review here the available information on the interactions of NO with cytochrome c oxidase (COX), the terminal enzyme of the respiratory chain. The effect of NO on cellular respiration is first summarized to present essential evidence for the fact that NO is a potent reversible inhibitor of in vivo O2 consumption. This information is then correlated with available experimental evidence on the reactions of NO with purified COX. Finally, since COX has been proposed to catalyze the degradation of NO into either nitrous oxide (N2O) or nitrite, we consider the putative role of this enzyme in the catabolism of NO in vivo.