The transition element molybdenum needs to be complexed by a special cofactor to gain catalytic activity. Molybdenum is bound to a unique pterin, thus forming the molybdenum cofactor (Moco), which, in different variants, is the active compound at the catalytic site of all molybdenum-containing enzymes in nature, except bacterial molybdenum nitrogenase. The biosynthesis of Moco involves the complex interaction of six proteins and is a process of four steps, which also require iron, ATP, and copper. After its synthesis, Moco is distributed, involving Moco-binding proteins. A deficiency in the biosynthesis of Moco has lethal consequences for the respective organisms.
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