Oligomerization of nitrophorins

Attila Ambrus, Kenneth Friedrich, Árpád Somogyi

Research output: Article

16 Citations (Scopus)


Rhodnius prolixus is a blood-sucking insect that uses a mixture of nitrophorin (NP) proteins to deliver nitric oxide (NO) from the insect saliva to the hosts via a ferric heme coordinated to the protein, causing vasodilatation and anticoagulation to support their feeding. R. prolixus NPs 1-4 are very similar proteins (∼20 kDa) with different NO affinities for stepwise NO release triggered by pH increase and histamine binding in hosts. Ultra-high-resolution X-ray structures of native and mutant NPs and their kinetic analysis already have revealed the fundamental steps of NO binding and release. In this study, we found that NPs can exist in multiple oligomerization states at higher concentrations. The oligomers are characterized by a combination of multiple biophysical methods. The intrinsic features of the oligomerization revealed here led us to propose that this intensive, moderately pH- and ligand-dependent oligomerization of NPs has physiological implications in the facilitation of the efficient storage and release of the highly reactive NO in the insect saliva and the victim, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - máj. 15 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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