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Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Characterization of Tetrahydrobiopterin Radical Formation in Bacterial Nitric Oxide Synthase Compared to Mammalian Nitric Oxide Synthase

Latest updated: May 26, 2020

Albane Brunel, Jérôme Santolini, and Pierre Dorlet

Biophys J. Jul 3, 2012; 103(1): 109–117.

doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.05.032



H4B is an essential catalytic cofactor of the mNOSs. It acts as an electron donor and activates the ferrous heme-oxygen complex intermediate during Arg oxidation (first step) and NOHA oxidation (second step) leading to nitric oxide and citrulline as final products. However, its role as a proton donor is still debated. Furthermore, its exact involvement has never been explored for other NOSs such as NOS-like proteins from bacteria. This article proposes a comparative study of the role of H4B between iNOS and bsNOS. In this work, we have used freeze-quench to stop the arginine and NOHA oxidation reactions and trap reaction intermediates. We have characterized these intermediates using multifrequency electron paramagnetic resonance. For the first time, to our knowledge, we report a radical formation for a nonmammalian NOS. The results indicate that bsNOS, like iNOS, has the capacity to generate a pterin radical during Arg oxidation. Our current electron paramagnetic resonance data suggest that this radical is protonated indicating that H4B may not transfer any proton. In the 2nd step, the radical trapped for iNOS is also suggested to be protonated as in the 1st step, whereas it was not possible to trap a radical for the bsNOS 2nd step. Our data highlight potential differences for the catalytic mechanism of NOHA oxidation between mammalian and bacterial NOSs.


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