Nitric oxide is known to be a messenger in animals and plants. It may act either as a pro-oxidant or antioxidant. In the present work, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was treated under aerobic conditions with the nitric oxide donor, sodium nitroprusside (SNP), at concentrations of 1, 5 and 10 mM. The activities of antioxidant enzymes as well as concentrations of protein carbonyls and cellular thiols were measured. Yeast incubation with SNP increased the activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase. Cycloheximide, an inhibitor of translation, blocked SNP-induced catalase activation, but not SOD activation. Incubation with SNP increased the activity of peroxisomal catalase, whereas cytosolic catalase was not affected. SNP treatment inactivated aconitase in a dose-dependent manner. Surprisingly, in cells incubated with 1 mM SNP, the levels of low-molecular weight thiols were significantly higher, whereas the concentrations of protein carbonyl groups were lower than those in untreated cells. The incubation of yeast cells either with decomposed SNP or with SNP under anaerobic conditions did not result in SOD and catalase activation. It is suggested, that under aerobic conditions, the SNP effects are connected with induction of mild oxidative/nitrosative stress.
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