Open Access
Nitric oxide synthases: domain structure and alignment in enzyme function and control
Dipak K Ghosh1,J C Salerno1
Department of Medicine, Duke University and VA Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.
DOI: 10.2741/959 Volume 8 Issue 4, pp.193-209
Published: 01 January 2003
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitric oxide and related research)

Nitric Oxide Synthases are a family of enzymes that produce NO from arginine, oxygen and reducing power in the form of NADPH; they function as signal generators and as producers of cytotoxic levels of NO (e.g., in immune defense). Evolution of eukaryotic NOS from prokaryotic antecedents involved a series of gene fusion events, producing a modular enzyme, and the concomitant development of sophisticated control mechanisms that are isoform specific and tailored to the role of enzymes in signal transduction or immune response. Recent information on the structures of NOS isoforms at all levels from primary amino acid sequence to high resolution crystallography allows a deepening understanding of many aspects of these important proteins including interdomain interactions, dimerization, cofactor, substrate, and isoform specific inhibitor binding as well catalysis and control. The details of the NOS reaction mechanism and its control through the regulation of electron transfer by CaM binding and other mechanisms are still being elucidated and are well worth further examination. The alignment of the molecular surfaces of the independently folded domains is a central feature of structure, catalysis and control in these important enzymes, and will be the focus of the present review.

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Dipak K Ghosh, J C Salerno. Nitric oxide synthases: domain structure and alignment in enzyme function and control. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2003. 8(4); 193-209.