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M. A. Marletta, A. R. Hurshman, and K. M. Rusche. 1998. Catalysis by Nitric Oxide Synthase. Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2: 656-663. Full Article

The enzyme nitric oxide synthase catalyzes the oxidation of the amino acid L-arginine to L-citrulline and nitric oxide in an NADPH-dependent reaction. Nitric oxide plays a critical role in signal transduction pathways in the cardiovascular and nervous systems and is a key component of the cytostatic/cytotoxic function of the immune system. Characterization of nitric oxide synthase substrates and cofactors has outlined the broad details of the overall reaction and suggested possibilities for chemical steps in the reaction; however, the molecular details of the reaction mechanism are still poorly understood. Recent evidence suggests a role for the reduced bound pterin in the first step of the reaction � the hydroxylation of L-arginine.

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