Reactive Nitrogen Species

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    Nitrogen as I said earlier in this lecture is problematic when it’s converted into forms that are very, very reactive. Those reactive forms of nitrogen are known as reactive nitrogen species and they’re kind of paired with reactive oxygen species. In either case, we have typically molecules that can readily form radicals. And as a result of the formation of those radicals, it can rapidly combine undesirably with other molecules in the body. Now, this slide shows the production and reactions of several reactive nitrogen species. I’m not going to go through all of them, but I’m going to point out the highlights and the important parts of each one for consideration. In the synthesis of nitric oxide, for example, nitric oxide actually is a radical. And so, our body is actually making this for one purpose, but the down side of the nitric oxide, it can combine with other things. That’s the NO that we see in reaction one. Nitric oxide can combine with other molecules such as the NO2 shown here at the nitrous compound. Combining these two molecules together creates dinitrogen trioxide, N2O3. That molecule is very reactive. You see it can combine there with thiols to make this RS as the S part being the thiol part and the NO being the nitrous oxide part. N2O3 is very active in the process of nitrosation. That is adding a nitrate to something else. And that is a very big problem associated with these reactive nitrogen compounds. We see in the figure on the right some of that nitrosation happening. Now, nitrosation can cause problems, because if the nitrate, for example, adds to an animo acid, the nitrate is negatively charged and will change the properties of protein that it gets linked to. Well, changing properties of proteins...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Reactive Nitrogen Species by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Amino Acid Metabolism.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Nitric oxide combines with superoxide to make peroxynitrite.
    2. They include the most reactive nitrogen molecule known as nitrous acid.
    3. They can oxidize metals, such as magnesium and potassium.
    4. All of the answers are true.
    5. None of the answers are true.

    Author of lecture Reactive Nitrogen Species

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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