Nitrosopersulfide (SSNO) accounts for sustained NO bioactivity of S-nitrosothiols following reaction with sulfide

M.M. Cortese-Krott, B.O. Fernandez, J.L.T. Santos, E. Mergia, M. Grman, P. Nagy, M. Kelm, A. Butler, M. Feelisch

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Sulfide salts are known to promote the release of nitric oxide (NO) from S-nitrosothiols and potentiate their vasorelaxant activity, but much of the cross-talk between hydrogen sulfide and NO is believed to occur via functional interactions of cell regulatory elements such as phosphodiesterases. Using RFL-6 cells as an NO reporter system we sought to investigate whether sulfide can also modulate nitrosothiol-mediated soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) activation following direct chemical interaction. We find a U-shaped dose response relationship where low sulfide concentrations attenuate sGC stimulation by S-nitrosopenicillamine (SNAP) and cyclic GMP levels are restored at equimolar ratios. Similar results are observed when intracellular sulfide levels are raised by pre-incubation with the sulfide donor, GYY4137. The outcome of direct sulfide/nitrosothiol interactions also critically depends on molar reactant ratios and is accompanied by oxygen consumption. With sulfide in excess, a 'yellow compound' accumulates that is indistinguishable from the product of solid-phase transnitrosation of either hydrosulfide or hydrodisulfide and assigned to be nitrosopersulfide (perthionitrite, SSNO; λ 412nm in aqueous buffers, pH 7.4; 448nm in DMF). Time-resolved chemiluminescence and UV-visible spectroscopy analyses suggest that its generation is preceded by formation of the short-lived NO-donor, thionitrite (SNO). In contrast to the latter, SSNO is rather stable at physiological pH and generates both NO and polysulfides on decomposition, resulting in sustained potentiation of SNAP-induced sGC stimulation. Thus, sulfide reacts with nitrosothiols to form multiple bioactive products; SSNO rather than SNO may account for some of the longer-lived effects of nitrosothiols and contribute to sulfide and NO signaling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalRedox Biology
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Nitric oxide
  • Polysulfides
  • cGMP
  • HSNO
  • Nitroxyl


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