|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
I took a look through the newest articles in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/) to see how much had changed since I last read up on the subject. I searched using "nitric oxide AND retrograde". [I added "AND gene expressio" for a later search.]
What I have found is that NO is still thought to work primarily as a local retrograde messenger, causing a temporary (or sometimes long-lasting) increase in neurotransmitter release. People have recently been working with animals in which the gene for the enzyme which makes NO (nitric oxide synthase, NOS) has been rendered inactive. What they have found there is that certain types of learning and memory do not occur and that types of potentiation seen in the hippocampus are missing (Kano T, Shimizu-Sasamata M, Huang PL, Moskowitz MA, Lo EH Effects of nitric oxide synthase gene knockout on neurotransmitter release in vivo. Neuroscience 1998 Oct;86(3):695-9). A review of the literature from 1997 can be found in Clin Neurophysiol 1997 Jul;14(4):264-93.
The other part of your question seems to ask whether the NO signal gets transported back up to the soma of the presynaptic cell. I don't see any evidence of this happening directly, but I do know that people think that some of the changes induced by NO are thought to become permanent--and that would require new gene expression. Those changes are thought to be downstream of the NO itself (the result of enzymes activated by it).
I hope this answers your question.
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