Molybdenum

Adv Nutr. 2018 May 1;9(3):272-273. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmx001.

Abstract

Molybdenum, a trace element essential for micro-organisms, plants, and animals, was discovered in 1778 by a Swedish chemist named Karl Scheele. Initially mistaken for lead, molybdenum was named after the Greek work molybdos, meaning lead-like. In the 1930s, it was recognized that ingestion of forage with high amounts of molybdenum by cattle caused a debilitating condition. In the 1950s, the essentiality of molybdenum was established with the discovery of the first molybdenum-containing enzymes. In humans, only 4 enzymes requiring molybdenum have been identified to date: sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and mitochondrial amidoxime-reducing component (mARC). Sulfite oxidase, an enzyme found in mitochondria, catalyzes oxidation of sulfite to sulfate, the final step in oxidation of sulfur amino acids (cysteine and methionine). Xanthine oxidase converts hypoxanthine to xanthine, and further converts xanthine to uric acid, preventing hypoxanthine, formed from spontaneous deamination of adenine, from leading to DNA mutations if paired with cytosine in place of thymine. Aldehyde oxidase is abundant in the liver and is an important enzyme in phase 1 drug metabolism. Finally, mARC, discovered less than a decade ago, works in concert with cytochrome b5 type B and NAD(H) cytochrome b5 reductase to reduce a variety of N-hydroxylated substrates, although the physiologic significance is still unclear. In the case of each of the molybdenum enzymes, activity is catalyzed via a tricyclic cofactor composed of a pterin, a dithiolene, and a pyran ring, called molybdenum cofactor (MoCo) (1).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coenzymes / metabolism*
  • Cytochromes b5 / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Metalloproteins / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Molybdenum / metabolism*
  • Molybdenum / pharmacology
  • Molybdenum / therapeutic use
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Pteridines / metabolism*
  • Trace Elements / metabolism*
  • Trace Elements / pharmacology
  • Trace Elements / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Coenzymes
  • Metalloproteins
  • Pteridines
  • Trace Elements
  • Molybdenum
  • Cytochromes b5
  • molybdenum cofactor
  • Oxidoreductases