How Does Catalase Release Nitric Oxide? A Computational Structure–Activity Relationship Study

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Hydroxyurea (HU) is the only FDA approved medication for treating sickle cell disease in adults. The primary mechanism of action is pharmacological elevation of nitric oxide (NO) levels which induces propagation of fetal hemoglobin. HU is known to undergo redox reactions with heme based enzymes like hemoglobin and catalase to produce NO. However, specific details about the HU based NO release remain unknown. Experimental studies indicate that interaction of HU with human catalase compound I produces NO. Presently, we combine flexible receptor–flexible substrate induced fit docking (IFD) with energy decomposition analyses to examine the atomic level details of a possible key step in the clinical conversion of HU to NO. Substrate binding modes of nine HU analogs with catalase compound I were investigated to determine the essential properties necessary for effective NO release. Three major binding orientations were found that provide insight into the possible reaction mechanisms for producing NO. Further results show that anion/radical intermediates produced as part of these mechanisms would be stabilized by hydrogen bonding interactions from distal residues His75, Asn148, Gln168, and oxoferryl-heme. These details will ideally contribute to both a clearer mechanistic picture and provide insights for future structure based drug design efforts.

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Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, v. 53, issue 11, p. 2951-2961