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Journal of Physical Chemistry B

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There is currently great interest in S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) because formation of protein-based RSNOs—protein S-nitrosation—has been recently recognized as a major pathway of the biological function of nitric oxide, NO. Despite the growing number of S-nitrosated proteins identified in vivo, enzymatic processes that control reactions of biological RSNOs are still not well understood. In this article, we use a range of models to computationally demonstrate that specific interactions of RSNOs with charged and polar residues in proteins can result in dramatic modification of RSNO structure, stability, and reactivity. This unprecedented sensitivity of the −SNO group toward interactions with charged species is related to their unusual electronic structure that can be elegantly expressed in terms of antagonistic resonance structures. We propose a ‘ligand effect map’ (LEM) approach as an efficient way to estimate the environment effects on the −SNO groups in proteins without performing electronic structure calculations. Furthermore, the calculated 15N NMR signatures of these specific interactions suggest that 15N NMR spectroscopy can be an effective technique to identify and study these interactions experimentally. Overall, the results of this study suggest that RSNO reactions in vivo should be tightly controlled by the protein environment via modulation of the RSNO electronic structure.


Accepted version. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Vol. 117, No. 6 (February 2013): 1827-1837. DOI. © 2013 American Chemical Society Publications. Used with permission.

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