Nitric oxide reductase, an enzyme, catalyzes the reduction of nitric oxide (NO) to nitrous oxide (N2O). The enzyme participates in nitrogen metabolism and in the microbial defense against nitric oxide toxicity. The catalyzed reaction may be dependent on different participating small molecules: Cytochrome c (EC: 188.8.131.52, Nitric oxide reductase (cytochrome c)), NADPH (EC:184.108.40.206), or Menaquinone (EC:220.127.116.11).
Nitric oxide reductase was assigned Enzyme Commission number (EC) 18.104.22.168. Enzyme Commission numbers are the standard naming system used for enzymes. The EC identifies the class, subclass, sub-subclass, and serial number of the enzyme. Nitric oxide reductase is in Class 1, therefore it is an oxidoreductases.
Nitric oxide reductase belongs to the family of oxidoreductases, specifically those acting on other nitrogenous compounds as donors with other acceptors. The systematic name of this enzyme class is nitrous-oxide:acceptor oxidoreductase (NO-forming). Other names in common use include nitrogen oxide reductase, and nitrous-oxide:(acceptor) oxidoreductase (NO-forming).
Organisms reduce nitrate (NO3−) to nitrogen gas (N2) through the process of denitrification, see Figure 1. Two important intermediates of the reduction pathway are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The reducing reaction that transforms NO into N2O is catalyzed by nitric oxide reductase (NOR).
NO is reduced to N2O also to prevent cellular toxicity. N2O, a potent greenhouse gas, is released.