Dr. NO and Mr. Toxic – the versatile role of nitric oxide - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Biological Chemistry Year : 2020

Dr. NO and Mr. Toxic – the versatile role of nitric oxide

Constance Porrini
  • Function : Author
Seav-Ly Tran
  • Function : Author


Nitric oxide (NO) is present in various organisms from humans, to plants, fungus and bacteria. NO is a fundamental signaling molecule implicated in major cellular functions. The role of NO ranges from an essential molecule to a potent mediator of cellular damages. The ability of NO to react with a broad range of biomolecules allows on one hand its regulation and a gradient concentration and on the other hand to exert physiological as well as pathological functions. In humans, NO is implicated in cardiovascular homeostasis, neurotransmission and immunity. However, NO can also contribute to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) or septic shock. For certain denitrifying bacteria, NO is part of their metabolism as a required intermediate of the nitrogen cycle. However, for other bacteria, NO is toxic and harmful. To survive, those bacteria have developed processes to resist this toxic effect and persist inside their host. NO also contributes to maintain the host/microbiota homeostasis. But little is known about the impact of NO produced during prolonged inflammation on microbiota integrity, and some pathogenic bacteria take advantage of the NO response to colonize the gut over the microbiota. Taken together, depending on the environmental context (prolonged production, gradient concentration, presence of partners for interaction, presence of oxygen, etc.), NO will exert its beneficial or detrimental function. In this review, we highlight the dual role of NO for humans, pathogenic bacteria and microbiota, and the mechanisms used by each organism to produce, use or resist NO.
No file

Dates and versions

hal-04324677 , version 1 (05-12-2023)



Constance Porrini, Nalini Ramarao, Seav-Ly Tran. Dr. NO and Mr. Toxic – the versatile role of nitric oxide. Biological Chemistry, 2020, 401 (5), pp. 547-572. ⟨10.1515/hsz-2019-0368⟩. ⟨hal-04324677⟩
6 View
0 Download



Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More