Thiyl radicals react with nitric oxide to formS-nitrosothiols with rate constants near the diffusion-controlled limit

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A possible route to S-nitrosothiols in biology is the reaction between thiyl radicals and nitric oxide. D. Hofstetter et al. (Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.360:146–148; 2007) claimed an upper limit of (2.8±0.6)×107 M−1s−1 for the rate constant between thiyl radicals derived from glutathione and nitric oxide, and it was suggested that under physiological conditions S-nitrosation via this route is negligible. In the present study, thiyl radicals were generated by pulse radiolysis, and the rate constants of their reactions with nitric oxide were determined by kinetic competition with the oxidizable dyes 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonate) and a phenothiazine. The rate constants for the reaction of nitric oxide with thiyl radicals derived from glutathione, cysteine, and penicillamine were all in the range (2–3) ×109 M−1s−1, two orders of magnitude higher than the previously reported estimate in the case of glutathione. Absorbance changes on reaction of thiyl radicals with nitric oxide were consistent with such high reactivity and showed the formation of S-nitrosothiols, which was also confirmed in the case of glutathione by HPLC/MS. These rate constants imply that formation of S-nitrosothiols in biological systems from the combination of thiyl radicals with nitric oxide is much more likely than claimed by Hofstetter et al.

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