Molecular mechanisms of damage by excess nitrogen oxides: Nitration of tyrosine by gas-phase cigarette smoke

Jason Eiserich, Veronique Vossen, Charles A. O'Neill, Barry Halliwell, Carroll E Cross, Albert van der Vliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (nitrogen monoxide, •NO) plays important physiological roles, but an excess can be toxic. •NO is present in cigarette smoke (CS) at up to 500 ppm, and probably represents one of the greatest erogenous sources of •NO to which humans are exposed. We show here that gas-phase CS is capable of converting tyrosine to 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NO2-Tyr) and dityrosine, to an extent dependent on time of exposure and pH. Glutathione, ascorbic acid and uric acid decreased the CS-induced formation of 3-NO2-Tyr and dityrosine. We suggest that nitrogen oxides in CS can modify proteins in the respiratory tract and may contribute to CS toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-56
Number of pages4
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 1994



  • Cigarette smoke
  • Dityrosine
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitrotyrosine
  • Radical
  • Tyrosine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology

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