Mammalian aldehyde oxidases: genetics, evolution and biochemistry

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Apr;65(7-8):1019-48. doi: 10.1007/s00018-007-7398-y.


Mammalian aldehyde oxidases are a small group of proteins belonging to the larger family of molybdo-flavoenzymes along with xanthine oxidoreductase and other bacterial enzymes. The two general types of reactions catalyzed by aldehyde oxidases are the hydroxylation of heterocycles and the oxidation of aldehydes into the corresponding carboxylic acids. Different animal species are characterized by a different complement of aldehyde oxidase genes. Humans contain a single active gene, while marsupials and rodents are characterized by four such genes clustering at a short distance on the same chromosome. At present, little is known about the physiological relevance of aldehyde oxidases in humans and other mammals, although these enzymes are known to play a role in the metabolism of drugs and compounds of toxicological importance in the liver. The present article provides an overview of the current knowledge of genetics, evolution, structure, enzymology, tissue distribution and regulation of mammalian aldehyde oxidases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidase / chemistry
  • Aldehyde Oxidase / genetics*
  • Aldehyde Oxidase / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Mammals / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / chemistry
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / metabolism


  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde Oxidase