A new biological signalling molecule is described online in Nature Chemical Biology. Nitric oxide, or NO, is a common messenger in biological systems and produces a variety of physiological responses, but the precise signalling pathways involved have so far remained unclear.
Takaaki Akaike and colleagues now show that cellular NO production produces a 'nitrated' second messenger called 8-nitro-cGMP, which bears a chemical resemblance to a known signalling molecule, cyclic GMP (cGMP). Because of this similarity, 8-nitro-cGMP is a good mimic and can activate several of cGMP's standard signalling pathways. However 8-nitro-cGMP has a number of additional functions including the ability to tag proteins with a cGMP tag. The discovery of these new pathways and modifications provides new insights into NO physiology and pathological responses.
Takaaki Akaike (Kumamoto University, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Chemical Biology press release.
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