Iron Mediated Chemical Biology of Nitrogen Oxides
Nature uses small molecules such as the simple nitrogen oxides (NOx) extensively in biology. For example, the simple diatomic molecule nitric oxide (NO) is a biological signaling agent for mammalian blood pressure control. NO is, however, toxic to bacteria, and nitrogen oxides such as hyponitrite are important intermediates in bacterial detoxification of NO as part of their survival. The biological chemistry of these nitrogen oxides (NOx) is directed by various iron-containing biomolecules such as the muscle protein myoglobin, the blood protein hemoglobin, and the liver protein cytochrome P450. Importantly, most of these effects depend on the biocoordination chemistry of Fe.