Nitric oxide evokes an adaptive response to oxidative stress by arresting respiration

Maroof Husain, Travis J. Bourret, Bruce D. McCollister, Jessica Jones-Carson, James Laughlin, Andrés Vázquez-Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Aerobic metabolism generates biologically challenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the endogenous autooxidation of components of the electron transport chain (ETC). Basal levels of oxidative stress can dramatically rise upon activation of the NADPH oxidase-dependent respiratory burst. To minimize ROS toxicity, prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms express a battery of low-molecular-weight thiol scavengers, a legion of detoxifying catalases, peroxidases, and superoxide dismutases, as well as a variety of repair systems.Wepresent herein blockage of bacterial respiration as a novel strategy that helps the intracellular pathogen Salmonella survive extreme oxidative stress conditions. A Salmonella strain bearing mutations in complex I NADH dehydrogenases is refractory to the early NADPHoxidasedependent antimicrobial activity of IFNγ-activated macrophages. The ability of NADH-rich, complex I-deficient Salmonella to survive oxidative stress is associated with resistance to peroxynitrite (ONOO-) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O 2). Inhibition of respiration with nitric oxide (NO) also triggered a protective adaptive response against oxidative stress. Expression of the NDH-II dehydrogenase decreases NADH levels, thereby abrogating resistance of NO-adapted Salmonella to H2O2. NADH antagonizes the hydroxyl radical (OH.) generated in classical Fenton chemistry or spontaneous decomposition of peroxynitrous acid (ONOOH), while fueling AhpCF alkylhydroperoxidase. Together, these findings identify the accumulation of NADH following the NO-mediated inhibition of Salmonella's ETC as a novel antioxidant strategy. NO-dependent respiratory arrest may help mitochondria and a plethora of organisms cope with oxidative stress engendered in situations as diverse as aerobic respiration, ischemia reperfusion, and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7682-7689
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 21 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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