It is made up of six subunits. These subunits are:
- a Rho guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase), usually Rac1 or Rac2 (Rac stands for Rho-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate)
- Five "phox" units. (Phox stands for phagocytic oxidase.)
It generates superoxide by transferring electrons from NADPH inside the cell across the membrane and coupling these to molecular oxygen to produce the superoxide, which is highly reactive free radical. Superoxide can be produced into phagosomes which contain ingested bacteria and fungi, or it can be produced outside of the cell.
Superoxide is capable of killing bacteria and fungi by its ability to react with other body compounds to generate a large family of reactive oxygen species. These include hydrogen peroxide and hypochlorous acid, the reactive agent in bleach.
- 2 NADPH + O2 ↔ 2 NADP+ + H2O2
NADPH oxidase can be inhibited by apocynin and DPI.Apocynin prevents the assembly of its subunits.
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