The biological significance of the nitric oxide-dependent mitochondrial biogenesis

Sestina Falcone, Emilio Clementi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The function of mitochondria, the site of oxidative energy metabolism in eukaryotic cells, is regulated in complex ways by several agonists and environmental conditions, through activation of specific transcription factors and signalling pathways. A key player in this scenario is the gaseous messenger nitric oxide (NO). Its binding to cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondrial respiratory chain, which is reversible and in competition with oxygen, plays a role in acute oxygen sensing and in the cell response to hypoxia. Evidence of the last two years showed that NO has also long-term effects, leading to biogenesis of functionally active mitochondria that complement its oxygen sensing function. Mitochondrial biogenesis is triggered by NO through activation of guanylate cyclase and generation of cyclic GMP. The combined action of NO at its two known intracellular receptors, cytochrome c oxidase and guanylate cyclase, plays a role in coupling energy generation with energy demand. This may explain why de-regulation of the NO signalling pathway is often associated with the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxidative Stress: Clinical and Biomedical Implications
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781600218880
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Cyclic GMP
  • Gene transcription
  • Hypoxia
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Nitric oxide
  • Respiration
  • Thermogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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