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Biochemistry. 1989 Jun 13;28(12):5075-80.

Structure of the active site of sulfite oxidase. X-ray absorption spectroscopy of the Mo(IV), Mo(V), and Mo(VI) oxidation states.

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  • 1Exxon Research and Engineering Company, Annandale, New Jersey 08801.


The active site of sulfite oxidase has been investigated by X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the molybdenum K-edge at 4 K. We have investigated all three accessible molybdenum oxidation states, Mo(IV), Mo(V), and Mo(VI), allowing comparison with the Mo(V) electron paramagnetic resonance data for the first time. Quantitative analysis of the extended X-ray absorption fine structure indicates that the Mo(VI) oxidation state possesses two terminal oxo (Mo = O) and approximately three thiolate-like (Mo-S-) ligands and is unaffected by changes in pH and chloride concentration. The Mo(IV) and Mo(V) oxidation states, however, each have a single oxo ligand plus one Mo-O- (or Mo-N less than) bond, most probably Mo--OH, and two to three thiolate-like ligands. Both reduced forms appear to gain a single chloride ligand under conditions of low pH and high chloride concentration.

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