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Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 185, Issue 2, pp 153–171 | Cite as

The evolution of nitric oxide signalling in vertebrate blood vessels

  • John A. Donald
  • Leonard G. Forgan
  • Melissa S. Cameron
Review

Abstract

Nitric oxide is one of the most important signalling molecules involved in the regulation of physiological function. It first came to prominence when it was discovered that the vascular endothelium of mammals synthesises and releases nitric oxide (NO) to mediate a potent vasodilation. Subsequently, it was shown that NO is synthesised in the endothelium by a specific isoform of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) called NOS3. Following this discovery, it was assumed that an endothelial NO/NOS3 system would be present in all vertebrate blood vessels. This review will discuss the latest genomic, anatomical and physiological evidence which demonstrates that an endothelial NO/NOS3 signalling is not ubiquitous in non-mammalian vertebrates, and that there have been key evolutionary steps that have led to the endothelial NO signalling system being a regulatory system found only in reptiles, birds and mammals. Furthermore, the emerging role of nitrite as an endocrine source of NO for vascular regulation is discussed.

Keywords

Nitric oxide Nitric oxide synthase Vertebrate Nitrite Endothelium Vasodilation 

Abbreviations

ACh

Acetylcholine

cGMP

Guanosine 3′:5′-cyclic monophosphate

EDH

Endothelium-derived hyperpolarisation

EDRF

Endothelium-derived relaxing factor

ETC

Electron transport chain

GC

Guanylyl cyclase

GTP

Guanosine triphosphate

Hb

Haemoglobin

IHC

Immunohistochemistry

IR

Immunoreactivity

NADPH

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate

l-NAME

N 5-[imino(nitroamino)methyl]-l-ornithine methyl ester monohydrochloride

NO

Nitric oxide

NOS

Nitric oxide synthase

ODQ

1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxaline-1-one

PDZ

Post synaptic density protein (PSD95)/drosophila disc large tumour suppressor protein/zona occludens-1 protein domain

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

SIN-1

3-Morpholinosyndnomine

SNP

Sodium nitroprusside

WGD

Whole genome duplication

Supplementary material

360_2014_877_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (290 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 290 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Donald
    • 1
  • Leonard G. Forgan
    • 1
  • Melissa S. Cameron
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental SciencesDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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