Peroxidase catalyzed nitration of tryptophan derivatives

Mechanism, products and comparison with chemical nitrating agents


  • Enzymes: lactoperoxidase (EC; horseradish peroxidase (EC

E. Monzani, Dipartimento di Chimica Generale, Università di Pavia, Via Taramelli 12, I-27100 Pavia, Italy.
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The enzymatic nitration of tryptophan derivatives by oxidation of nitrite has been studied using lactoperoxidase and horseradish peroxidase, and compared with the chemical nitration produced by nitrogen dioxide and peroxynitrite. HPLC, mass spectra and NMR analysis of the mixture of products clearly show that nitration occurs at position 4-, 6-, 7-, and N1 of the indole ring, and nitrosation at position N1. Kinetic studies performed on peroxidase/NO2/H2O2 systems showed substrate saturation behavior with all the tryptophan derivatives employed. The rate dependence on nitrite concentration was found to be linear with horseradish peroxidase while it exhibited saturation behavior with lactoperoxidase. The composition of the product mixture depends on the nitrating agent. While the production of 4-nitro, 6-nitro, 7-nitro and N1-nitro derivatives follows a similar trend, indicating that they are formed according to a similar mechanism, the ratio between the N1-nitroso derivative and other derivatives depends markedly on the nitrite concentration when tryptophan modification is performed by the peroxidase/H2O2/nitrite systems. Analysis of the data indicates that at low nitrite concentration the enzymatic reaction occurs through the classical peroxidase cycle. At high nitrite concentration the reaction proceeds through a different intermediate that we assume to be a protein bound peroxynitrite species.