Departament de Genètica. Facultat de Biologia. Universitat de Barcelona. 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Nitric oxide (NO) is a signalling molecule involved in many physiological functions. An important via of NO action is through the S-nitrosylation of proteins, a post-translational modification that regulates the activity of enzymes, protein-protein interactions and signal transduction pathways. Alcohol dehydrogenase class III (ADH3) recognises S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), the main reservoir of non-protein S-nitrosothiol, and functions as an effective GSNO reductase (GSNOR) and as a safeguard against nitrosative stress. To investigate the evolutionary conservation of this metabolic role, we have produced recombinant Branchiostoma floridae ADH3. Pure preparations of ADH3 showed 2-fold higher activity as GSNOR than as formaldehyde dehydrogenase, the previously assumed main role for ADH3. To correlate ADH3 expression in the gut with areas of NO production, we analysed the tissue distribution of the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzyme in amphioxus larvae. Immunostaining of the NOS enzyme revealed expression in the gut and in the dorsal region of the club-shaped gland. Co-localization in the gut supports the ADH3 and NOS joint contribution to the NO/SNO homeostasis.
Keywords: Cephalochordate, alcohol dehydrogenase class III (ADH3), nitric oxide synthase (NOS), intestine, club-shaped gland.