Homocysteine Antagonism of Nitric Oxide-Related Cytostasis in Salmonella typhimurium

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Science  19 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5260, pp. 414-417
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5260.414


Nitric oxide (NO) is associated with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity of particular importance in infections caused by intracellular pathogens. An insertion mutation in the metL gene of Salmonella typhimurium conferred specific hypersusceptibility to S-nitrosothiol NO-donor compounds and attenuated virulence of the organism in mice. The metL gene product catalyzes two proximal metabolic steps required for homocysteine biosynthesis. S-Nitrosothiol resistance was restored by exogenous homocysteine or introduction of the metL gene on a plasmid. Measurement of expression of the homocysteine-sensitive metH gene indicated that S-nitrosothiols may directly deplete intracellular homocysteine. Homocysteine may act as an endogenous NO antagonist in diverse processes including infection, atherosclerosis, and neurologic disease.

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