The two faces of aldehyde oxidase: Oxidative and reductive transformations of 5-nitroquinoline

Biochem Pharmacol. 2017 Dec 1;145:210-217. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2017.09.002. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Aldehyde oxidase (AOX) is a cytosolic enzyme responsible for the metabolism of some drugs and drug candidates. AOX catalyzes the oxidative hydroxylation of substrates including several aliphatic and aromatic aldehydes, and nitrogen-containing heterocyclic compounds. AOX is also reported to catalyze the reductive metabolism of nitro-compounds, N-oxides, sulfoxides, isoxazoles, isothiazoles, nitrite and hydroxamic acids. These reductive transformations are not well understood and are generally believed to only occur at low oxygen concentrations. In this study, we used 5-nitroquinoline (5NQ) as a substrate to further understand both the oxidative and the reductive transformations catalyzed by AOX. In vitro reaction of 5NQ with AOX under aerobic conditions generated the oxidized (2-oxo-5-nitroquinoline, 2-oxo-5NQ), the reduced (5-aminoquinoline, 5AQ) and the oxidized/reduced (2-oxo-5-aminoquinoline, 2-oxo-5AQ) metabolites. Interestingly, in human liver cytosol, co-incubation of 5NQ and known AOX oxidative substrates DACA and phthalazine significantly increased the yield of the reduced metabolite, while oxidized metabolites production decreased. These data indicate that 5NQ can be reduced at atmospheric oxygen concentrations and that the reductive transformation occurs at a second site that is kinetically distinct from the oxidative site.

Keywords: Aldehyde oxidase; Drug metabolism; Molybdenum; Nitric oxide; Oxidation; Reactive-oxygen; Reduction.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Oxidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Aldehyde Oxidase / genetics
  • Aldehyde Oxidase / metabolism*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Escherichia coli
  • Humans
  • Hydralazine / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nitroquinolines / chemistry
  • Nitroquinolines / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Nitroquinolines
  • Hydralazine
  • 5-nitroquinoline
  • AOX1 protein, human
  • Aldehyde Oxidase