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Science 336 (6080): 470-473

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Endogenous Protein S-Nitrosylation in E. coli: Regulation by OxyR

Divya Seth,1 Alfred Hausladen,1 Ya-Juan Wang,2 Jonathan S. Stamler1,*

Abstract: Endogenous S-nitrosylation of proteins, a principal mechanism of cellular signaling in eukaryotes, has not been observed in microbes. We report that protein S-nitrosylation is an obligate concomitant of anaerobic respiration on nitrate in Escherichia coli. Endogenous S-nitrosylation during anaerobic respiration is controlled by the transcription factor OxyR, previously thought to operate only under aerobic conditions. Deletion of OxyR resulted in large increases in protein S-nitrosylation, and S-nitrosylation of OxyR induced transcription from a regulon that is distinct from the regulon induced by OxyR oxidation. Furthermore, products unique to the anaerobic regulon protected against S-nitrosothiols, and anaerobic growth of E. coli lacking OxyR was impaired on nitrate. Thus, OxyR serves as a master regulator of S-nitrosylation, and alternative posttranslational modifications of OxyR control distinct transcriptional responses.

1 Institute for Transformative Molecular Medicine and Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.
2 Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jonathan.stamler{at}

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