Reciprocal regulation of sulfite oxidation and nitrite reduction by mitochondrial sulfite oxidase

Alexander T. Kaczmarek, Marc J.F. Strampraad, Peter Leon Hagedoorn, Guenter Schwarz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The oxygen-independent nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide (NO) pathway is considered as a substantial source of NO in mammals. Dietary nitrate/nitrite are distributed throughout the body and reduced to NO by the action of various enzymes. The intermembrane spaced (IMS), molybdenum cofactor-dependent sulfite oxidase (SO) was shown to catalyze such a nitrite reduction. In this study we asked whether the primary function of SO – sulfite oxidation – and its novel function – nitrite reduction – impact each other. First, we utilized benzyl viologen as artificial electron donor to investigate steady state NO synthesis by SO and found fast (k cat = 14 s −1 ) nitrite reduction of SO full-length and its isolated molybdenum domain at pH 6.5. Next, we determined the impact of nitrite on pre-steady state kinetics in SO catalysis and identified nitrite as a pH-dependent inhibitor of SO reductive and oxidative half reaction. Finally, we report on the time-dependent formation of the paramagnetic Mo(V) species following nitrite reduction and demonstrate that sulfite inhibits nitrite reduction. In conclusion, we propose a pH-dependent reciprocal regulation of sulfite oxidation and nitrite reduction by each substrate, thus facilitating quick responses to hypoxia induced changes in the IMS, which may function in protecting the cell from reactive oxygen species production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Molybdenum cofactor
  • Nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitrite reduction
  • Sulfite oxidase


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