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Bioinorg Chem. 1977;7(1):57-70.

Tungsten vs. Molybdenum in models for biological systems.


Biological systems show a marked preference for molybdenum over tungsten. Studies with methyliminodiacetic acid and L-cysteine have shown that the formation constants of the complexes with Mo(Vi) and W(VI) are very similar. These results imply that these elements would be bound with roughly equal strengths to an apoenzyme or a carrier whether or not these proteins contain a ligating sulfhydryl group. Similarly, transport across a membrane would not be expected to distinguish compounds of these metals providing they are carried in the same oxidation states. However, molybdenum could be distinguished from tungsten through the greater ease of reduction of the compounds of molybdenum.

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