Antioxidant effect of a nitrated cyclic nucleotide functioning as an endogenous electrophile

Tomohiro Sawa, Hideshi Ihara, Takaaki Akaike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We describe here physiological formation of a unique nitrated cyclic nucleotide, 8-nitroguanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-nitro-cGMP) and its potent antioxidant activity. Our earlier studies revealed the NO-dependent guanine nitration in several types of cells. In fact, we identified physiological formation and functions of 8-nitro-cGMP, which is the first demonstration of a new second messenger derived from cGMP in mammals since the discovery of cGMP more than 40 years ago. Using immunocytochemical methods, we confirmed 8-nitro-cGMP formation in cultured macrophages, hepatocyte-like cells, adipocytes, and endothelial cells, depending on NO production. We further verified 8- nitro-cGMP formation via HPLC plus electrochemical detection and tandem mass spectrometry. 8-Nitro-cGMP as an electrophile reacts efficiently with sulfhydryls of proteins to generate a novel post-translational modification, which we call protein S-guanylation. Particular intracellular proteins can readily undergo S-guanylation by 8-nitro-cGMP. 8-Nitro-cGMP regulates the redox-sensor signaling protein Keap1, via S-guanylation of the highly nucleophilic cysteine sulfhydryls of Keap1. More importantly, we clarified that S-guanylation of Keap1 is involved in potent antioxidant effects mediated by 8-nitro-cGMP, by inducing oxidative stress-response genes such as heme oxygenase-1. Our discovery of 8-nitro-cGMP and its unique antioxidant effects thus shed light on new areas of oxidative stress research. Protein S-guanylation induced by 8-nitro-cGMP thus may have important implications in pharmaceutical chemistry and development of therapeutics for many diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1854-1860
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Topics in Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Adaptive response
  • Antioxidant
  • Electrophile
  • Nitrated cyclic nucleotide
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Signal transduction


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