Amino Acids

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 123–130 | Cite as

Protein cysteine S-guanylation and electrophilic signal transduction by endogenous nitro-nucleotides

  • Khandaker Ahtesham Ahmed
  • Tomohiro Sawa
  • Takaaki AkaikeEmail author
Review Article


Nitric oxide (NO), a gaseous free radical that is synthesized in organisms by nitric oxide synthases, participates in a critical fashion in the regulation of diverse physiological functions such as vascular and neuronal signal transduction, host defense, and cell death regulation. Two major pathways of NO signaling involve production of the second messenger guanosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) and posttranslational modification (PTM) of redox-sensitive cysteine thiols of proteins. We recently clarified the physiological formation of 8-nitroguanosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (8-nitro-cGMP) as the first demonstration, since the discovery of cGMP more than 40 years ago, of a new second messenger derived from cGMP in mammals. 8-Nitro-cGMP is electrophilic and reacts efficiently with sulfhydryls of proteins to produce a novel PTM via cGMP adduction, a process that we named protein S-guanylation. 8-Nitro-cGMP may regulate electrophilic signaling on the basis of its electrophilicity through induction of S-guanylation of redox sensor proteins. Examples include S-guanylation of the redox sensor protein Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), which leads to activation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-dependent expression of antioxidant and cytoprotective genes. This S-guanylation-mediated activation of an antioxidant adaptive response may play an important role in cytoprotection during bacterial infections and oxidative stress. Identification of new redox-sensitive proteins as targets for S-guanylation may help development of novel therapeutics for oxidative stress- and inflammation-related disorders and vascular diseases as well as understanding of cellular protection against oxidative stress.


Nitric oxide Reactive oxygen species Oxidative stress Posttranslational modification Redox signal ROS signal Electrophilic signal Adaptive response 



We thank Judith B. Gandy for her excellent editing of the manuscript. This work was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B, C: Nos. 21390097, 21590312) and on Innovative Areas (Research in a Proposed Area: Nos. 20117001, 20117005) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan, by Advanced Education Program for Young Scientists in Integrated Clinical, Basic and Social Medicine, Kumamoto University, and by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khandaker Ahtesham Ahmed
    • 1
  • Tomohiro Sawa
    • 1
  • Takaaki Akaike
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Graduate School of Medical SciencesKumamoto UniversityKumamotoJapan

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