Synthesis of a photoactivated nitric oxide generator
The long-term goal of this project is to understand the mechanism by which an enzyme called mt-Hemoglobin N (mtHbN) can catalyze the oxidation of nitric oxide (NO) to nitrate by oxygen. The bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis uses this process to convert toxic NO to nitrite, thereby evading a key defensive weapon of the immune system. We have been studying the reaction of NO with mtHbN using time-resolved UV-Vis spectroscopy. Because the reaction is so fast, the NO is photogenerated from a precursor molecule using a 5-nanosecond laser pulse.