The regulation of enzyme activity function is a major factor in the cellular response to a changing environment. One mechanism of enzyme activity regulation includes post-translational protein thiol modification by nitric oxide (NO) or its redox species. Major routs used by NO to modify cysteine residues of proteins include S-nitrosation, oxidation, mixed disulfide formation with glutathione, and the covalent attachment of nucleotide cofactors, i.e NAD NADH. Critical thiol centers serve as recognition sites for NO, thus channeling the NO signal through post-translational modifications and oxidation into cellular functions. Here, we summarize current knowledge on active site thiol modification of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and caspase-3 by nitric oxide. Although very different in their cellular function, both enzymes contain highly reactive cysteines which represent sensitive targets for NO. Our studies are supportive of a potential role of S-nitrosation and mixed disulfide formation as a general signaling mechanism that allows sensing of nitrosative stress. At the same time, modification of GAPDH and caspase-3 by NO show the diversity of mechanisms (S-nitrosation versus oxidations) that we are confronted with as a result of NO delivery, especially comparing in vitro studies with cellular systems. In the future it will be challenging to dissect how nitrosative and oxidative signaling mechanisms overlap and how intracellular communication systems allow their activation in a selective way.
Keywords: Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate Dehydrogenase, Caspase-3, Nitric Oxide, GAPDH, S-NITROSATION, S-GLUTATHIONYLATION OF GAPDH, Caspases, S-GLUTA-THIONYLATION
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