Do nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide really qualify as 'gasotransmitters' in bacteria?Biochem Soc Trans. 2018 10 19; 46(5):1107-1118.BS
A gasotransmitter is defined as a small, generally reactive, gaseous molecule that, in solution, is generated endogenously in an organism and exerts important signalling roles. It is noteworthy that these molecules are also toxic and antimicrobial. We ask: is this definition of a gasotransmitter appropriate in the cases of nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in microbes? Recent advances show that, not only do bacteria synthesise each of these gases, but the molecules also have important signalling or messenger roles in addition to their toxic effects. However, strict application of the criteria proposed for a gasotransmitter leads us to conclude that the term 'small molecule signalling agent', as proposed by Fukuto and others, is preferable terminology.