Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS)

  • K. A. White
  • M. A. Marletta
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 105)


The enzymatic formation of nitric oxide (·NO) has emerged both as an interesting physiological pathway as well as an intriguing enzymatic problem. ·NO is produced via the oxidation of l-arginine by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS; EC 1.14.23). The reaction is illustrated in Fig. 1. Enzymatically generated ·NO mediates a wide range of important physiological functions. ·NO has been shown to be involved in vasodilation and maintenance of vascular tone, neuronal signaling, platelet aggregation, and host response to infection (Ignarro 1990; Bredt and Snyder 1992; Marletta et al. 1990). Sustained synthesis of ·NO could have serious consequences, however, and has been postulated to play a key role in the pathophysiological states of endotoxic shock (Kilbourn et al. 1990), inflammation-related tissue damage (Mulligan et al. 1991) and neuronal deterioration (Bredt and Snyder 1992). As suggested by the diverse action of ·NO, NOS activity has been localized and purified from several mammalian tissues, including the brain (Bredt and Snyder 1990; Mayer et al. 1990; Schmidt et al. 1991; Schmidt and Murad 1991), endothelium (Pollock et al. 1991), neutrophils (Yui et al. 1991a) and macrophages (Hevel et al. 1991; Stuehr et al. 1991a; Yui et al. 1991b). The purified NOSs can be categorized into two general isoforms: (a) a constitutive form regulated by calcium and calmodulin and (b) a cytokine-inducible form, which does not appear to be post-transcriptionally regulated (Fostermann et al. 1991).


Nitric Oxide Murine Macrophage Heme Domain cDNA Derive Amino Acid Sequence Microsomal Mixed Function Oxidase System 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. White
  • M. A. Marletta

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