Presentation of nitric oxide regulates monocyte survival through effects on caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation

Mandy M. Zeigler, Andrea I. Doseff, Michelle F. Galloway, Judy M. Opalek, Philip T. Nowickill, Jay L. Zweier, Chandan K. Sen, Clay B. Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


In the absence of survival factors, blood monocytes undergo spontaneous apoptosis, which involves the activation of caspase-3. Although nitric oxide can block caspase-3 activation and promote cell survival, it can also induce apoptosis. We hypothesized that nitrosothiols that promote protein S-nitrosylation would reduce caspase-3 activation and cell survival, whereas nitric oxide donors (such as 1-propamine 3-(2-hydroxy-2-nitroso-1-propylhydrazine (PAPA) NONOate and diethylamine (DEA) NONOate) that do not target thiol residues would not. Using human monocytes as a model, we observed that nitrosothiol donors S-nitrosoglutathione and S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine suppressed caspase-9 and caspase-3 activity and DNA fragmentation. In contrast, PAPA or DEA NONOate did not promote monocyte survival events and appeared to inhibit monocyte survival induced by macrophage colony-stimulating factor. The caspase-3-selective inhibitor DEVD-fluoromethyl ketone reversed DNA fragmentation events, and the caspase-9 inhibitor LEHD-fluoromethyl ketone reversed caspase-3 activity in monocytes treated with PAPA or DEA NONOate in the presence of macrophage colony-stimulating factor. These results were not caused by differences in glutathione levels or the kinetics of nitric oxide release. Moreover, S-nitroso-glutathione and S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine directly blocked the activity of recombinant caspase-3, which was reversed by the reducing agent dithiothreitol, whereas PAPA or DEA NONOate did not block the enzymatic activity of caspase-3. These data support the hypothesis that nitrosylation of protein thiol residues by nitric oxide is critical for promoting the survival of human monocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12894-12902
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 11 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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