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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2006;57:623-47.

Molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis and molybdenum enzymes.

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  • 1Institute of Plant Biology, Technical University Braunschweig, 38023 Braunschweig, Germany.


The molybdenum cofactor (Moco) forms the active site of all eukaryotic molybdenum (Mo) enzymes. Moco consists of molybdenum covalently bound to two sulfur atoms of a unique tricyclic pterin moiety referred to as molybdopterin. Moco is synthesized from GTP by an ancient and conserved biosynthetic pathway that can be divided into four steps involving the biosynthetic intermediates cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate, molybdopterin, and adenylated molybdopterin. In a fifth step, sulfuration or bond formation between Mo and a protein cysteine result in two different catalytic Mo centers. There are four Mo enzymes in plants: (1) nitrate reductase catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step in nitrate assimilation and is structurally similar to the recently identified, (2) peroxisomal sulfite oxidase that detoxifies excessive sulfite. (3) Aldehyde oxidase catalyzes the last step of abscisic acid biosynthesis, and (4) xanthine dehydrogenase is essential for purine degradation and stress response.

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