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From molecules to mammals: what's NOS got to do with it?

Authors

  • I. N. Mungrue,

    1. The Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
    2. Department of Physiology, University of California at San Francisco, CA, USA
    3. The Terrence Donnelly Heart Centre, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada
    4. Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, The Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, Toronto, Canada
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  • D. S. Bredt,

    1. Department of Physiology, University of California at San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • D. J. Stewart,

    1. The Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
    2. The Terrence Donnelly Heart Centre, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada
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  • M. Husain

    1. The Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
    2. Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, The Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, Toronto, Canada
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D. J. Stewart, 7 Queen-081, 30 Bond St, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8; M. Husain, 12EN-221, 200 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2C4.

Abstract

Nitric oxide synthases (NOSs) generate nitric oxide (NO) and the by-product l-citrulline, via the catalytic combination of l-arginine and molecular oxygen. In mammals, there are three NOS genes: nNOS (NOS1), iNOS (NOS2) and eNOS (NOS3). The molecular structure, enzymology and pharmacology of these enzymes have been well defined, and reveal critical roles for the NOS system in a variety of important processes. The studies of NOS enzymes using knockout and transgenic mouse models have provided an invaluable contribution, highlighting critical roles in neuronal, renal, pulmonary, gastro-intestinal, skeletal muscle, reproductive and cardiovascular biology. This review will outline the data gleaned from complementary knockout and transgenic over-expression models in mice, and focus on the interactions between NOS enzymes and pathophysiology of the vascular system. These studies are a paradigm for the near future, which will involve the translation of an enormous amount of genomic data into physiological insights that penetrate the realms of both health care and biology.

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