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Peroxynitric acid (O2NOOH) nitrates L-tyrosine and related compounds at pH 2-5. During reaction with O2(15)NOOH in the probe of a 15N NMR spectrometer, the NMR signals of the nitration products of L-tyrosine, N-acetyl-L-tyrosine, 4-fluorophenol and 4-methoxyphenylacetic acid appear in emission indicating a nitration via free radicals. Nuclear polarizations are built up in radical pairs [15NO2* , PhO*]F or [15NO2* , ArH*+]F formed by diffusive encounters of 15NO2 with phenoxyl-type radicals PhO or with aromatic radical cations ArH*+. Quantitative 15N CIDNP investigations with N-acetyl-L-tyrosine and 4-fluorophenol show that the radical-dependent nitration is the only reaction pathway. During the nitration reaction, the 15N NMR signal of 15NO3- also appears in emission. This is explained by singlet-triplet transitions in radical pairs [15NO2* , 15NO3*]S generated by electron transfer between O2(15)NOOH and H15NO2 formed as a reaction intermediate. During reaction of peroxynitric acid with ascorbic acid, 15N CIDNP is again observed in the 15N NMR signal of 15NO3- showing that ascorbic acid is oxidized by free radicals. In contrast to this, O2(15)NOOH reacts with glutathione and cysteine without the appearance of 15N CIDNP, indicating a direct oxidation without participation of free radicals.


Manfred Lehnig, Michael Kirsch. 15N CIDNP investigations of the peroxynitric acid nitration of L-tyrosine and of related compounds. Organic & biomolecular chemistry. 2006 Feb 21;4(4):721-9

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PMID: 16467947

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