Mitochondria as Generators and Targets of Nitric Oxide

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial biochemistry is complex, expanding from oxidative phosphorylation, lipid catabolism and haem biosynthesis, to apoptosis, calcium homeostasis, and production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, including nitric oxide (NO). This molecule is produced by a mitochondrial nitric-oxide synthase (mtNOS). The rates of consumption and production determine the steady-state concentration of NO at subcellular levels, leading to the regulation of several mitochondrial events. Temporospatial processes tightly regulate the production of NO in mitochondria to maximize target effects and minimize deleterious reactions. Temporal regulatory mechanisms of mtNOS include activation by calcium and transcriptional/translational regulation. Calciumactivated mtNOS inhibits mitochondrial respiration. This regulation antagonizes the effects of calcium on matrix calcium-dependent dehydrogenases, preventing the formation of anoxic foci. Temporal regulation of NO production by intracellular calcium signalling requires the understanding of the heterogeneous intracellular calcium response and calcium distribution. NO production in mitochondria is spatially regulated by subcellular localization of mtNOS (e.g. acylation and protein-protein interactions), in addition to transcriptional regulation. Given the short half-life of NO in biological systems, organelle localization of mtNOS is crucial for NO to function as a signal molecule. These temporospatial processes are biologically important to allow NO to act as an effective signal molecule to regulate mitochondrial events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMitochondrial Biology: New Perspectives
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780470725207
ISBN (Print)9780470066577
StatePublished - May 20 2008


  • Calcium
  • Cytochrome c oxidase
  • Mitochondria
  • Nitric-oxide synthase
  • Oxygen gradient
  • Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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