Guanylate cyclase activity in rat lung supernatant fractions is stimulated 3-4 fold by aerobic incubation at 30 degrees C for approx. 30 min (‘O2-dependent activation’). This stimulation was blocked by 20 microM-eicosa-5,8,11,14-tetraynoic acid (ETYA), an inhibitor of lipoxygenase and cyclo-oxygenase, but not by aspirin or indomethacin, which are cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors. The enzyme activator(s) is presumed to be the fatty acid hydroperoxide(s) formed by lipoxygenase. Removal of lipoxygenase from the supernatant fraction by chromatography on Amberlite XAD-4 also prevented activation, which was restored by the addition of soya-bean lipoxygenase. Bovine serum albumin prevented O2-dependent activation or activation by soya-bean lipoxygenase, through its ability to bind the unsaturated fatty acid substrate of lipoxygenase. The lipoxygenase in the supernatant fraction is inhibited by endogenous glutathione peroxidase plus reduced glutathione (GSH); removal of GSH de-inhibits lipoxygenase and activates guanylate cyclase. This was effected by autoxidation, by cumene hydroperoxide (with GSH peroxidase) and by titration with N-ethylmaleimide (NEM). Activation by NEM was inhibited by serum albumin or ETYA, as was activation by low concentrations (less than 50 microM) of cumene hydroperoxide. Activation by higher concentrations was not so inhibited; therefore, cumene hydroperoxide can also activate by a direct effect on guanylate cyclase. A hypothesis for physiological activation is proposed.

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