Des R Richardson

Department of Pathology, Iron Metabolism and Chelation Program, Blackburn Building, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, 2031, Australia

GENERAL INTRODUCTION: NITROGEN MONOXIDE IS A VITAL MESSENGER MOLECULE AND CYTOTOXIC EFFECTOR

Nitrogen monoxide (NO) is a crucial effector and messenger molecule that plays roles in a wide variety of biological processes in animals and plants [1,2]. In fact, NO has roles in neurotransmission, smooth muscle relaxation, blood clotting, iron (Fe) metabolism and contributes to the cytotoxicity of activated macrophages against tumor cells and intracellular parasites [2-7]. The production of NO in living organisms is mediated via the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) family of enzymes [1,8,9]. Many of the regulatory functions of NO are due to its ability to bind Fe within the haem prosthetic group of guanylate cyclase [2,10,11]. In fact, the high affinity of NO for Fe is a well-known branch of coordination chemistry [10].

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