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Plant mitochondria generate nitric oxide (NO) under anoxia through the action of cytochrome c oxidase and other electron transport chain components on nitrite. This reductive mechanism operates under aerobic conditions at high electron transport rates. Indirect evidence also indicates that the oxidative pathway of NO production may be associated with mitochondria. We review the consequences of mitochondrial NO production, including the inhibition of oxygen uptake by cytochrome c oxidase, the inhibition of aconitase and succinate dehydrogenase, the induction of alternative oxidase, and the nitrosylation of several proteins, including glycine decarboxylase. The importance of these events in adaptation to abiotic and biotic stresses is discussed.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date



19 Pt B


329 - 333


Aconitase, Anoxia, Mitochondrial electron transport, Nitric oxide, Nitrosylation, Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins, Hypoxia, Mitochondria, Nitric Oxide, Nitrites, Plant Proteins, Plants, Stress, Physiological