Nitric oxide (NO) is a small, reactive molecule involved in numerous signaling pathways, including those regulating angiogenesis and metastasis. The primary cellular receptor for NO is soluble Guanylyl Cyclase (sGC), a heterodimeric hemoprotein of 150 kDa and an attractive target for the treatment of disease, including cancer. Binding of NO stimulates sGC activity, leading to the establishment of a cGMP signaling cascade. sGC is allosterically regulated by a variety of molecules, including NO, ATP, YC-1 (a small nucleotide-like pharmacophore), and by posttranslational modifications. Despite extensive study, little is known about the overall shape of sGC, the means by which allosteric regulation takes place, the arrangement of functional domains in the protein or the arrangement of the protein in the cell. We intend to fill this gap through fluorescence-based approaches that will allow us to measure structural changes within sGC, and also to monitor sGC localization within the cell. Specifically, we intend to incorporate paired fluorophores to full-length and truncated forms of sGC such that FRET measurements will reveal the distances between functional domains under stimulating and inhibiting conditions. We have developed a robust model system involving sGC from the hawk moth {Manduca sexta) with which to begin these studies, but will also include human sGC once the fluorescence system is established. We will investigate sGC conformational states not only with isolated material, but also in live cells. Additionally, we will use a combination of immunohistology and fluorescence microscopy to monitor localization of sGC under activating and inhibiting conditions. We have shown that sGC displays a punctuate arrangement in the cell, but the functional consequences of this stark pattern are unknown. Together, we expect that these studies will uncover the structural transitions that sGC undergoes and provide the framework for novel strategies in drug discovery. The generated results from this pilot project will provide the basis for future collaborative funding and research efforts.

Public Health Relevance

The Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention is collaboration between Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Cancer Center. Its mission is to alleviate the unequal burden of cancer among Native Americans of the Southwest through research, training and outreach programs that are collaborative with the communities they serve.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-D (O2))
Program Officer
Ogunbiyi, Peter
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northern Arizona University
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
Zip Code
Wilson, Janice; Young, Ashley; Civitello, Edgar R et al. (2014) Analysis of heat-labile sites generated by reactions of depleted uranium and ascorbate in plasmid DNA. J Biol Inorg Chem 19:45-57
George, Shannon A; Whittaker, Aaron M; Stearns, Diane M (2011) Photoactivated uranyl ion produces single strand breaks in plasmid DNA. Chem Res Toxicol 24:1830-2