X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the sulfur K-edge (2.4-2.6 keV) provides a sensitive and specific technique to identify S-nitroso compounds, which have significance in nitric oxide-based cell signaling. Unique spectral features clearly distinguish the S-nitroso-form of a cysteine residue from the sulfhydryl-form or from a methionine thioether. Comparison of the sulfur K-edge spectra of thiolate, thiol, thioether, and S-nitroso thiolate compounds indicates high sensitivity of energy positions and intensities of XAS pre-edge features as determined by the electronic environment of the sulfur absorber. A new experimental setup is being developed for reaching the in vivo concentration range of S-nitroso thiol levels in biological samples.

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