Sulfite oxidase is a molybdenum containing enzyme located in the mitochondria of liver and kidney cells, which catalyzes the oxidation of sulfite to sulfate during the protein and lipid metabolism and therefore plays an important role in cellular detoxification processes. A lack of functional sulfite oxidase is a rare but fatal genetic disease causing neurological disorders, mental retardation, physical deformities as well as degradation of the brain, which finally leads to premature death. Various dietary or drug treatments for a sulfite oxidase deficiency have been tried with moderate success.
It was the fact that molybdenum oxide is incorporated in the enzymes active site that provided the inspiration for the approach now taken by the team of scientists working under the lead of Professor
Lowered sulfite oxidase levels can cause health problems even for otherwise healthy persons. In addition, sulfites are used as preservatives in food, e.g., in red wine, grape juice, or pickles in a jar. People having low levels of the sulfite oxidase react with symptoms like fatigue, asthma, drop in blood sugar, or headache.
With their study the Mainz scientists enter scientifically uncharted territory, because so far there are just a few studies of enzymatically active nanoparticles. "It is indeed astonishing, that simple inorganic nanoparticles can mimic an enzymatic activity," said
At the same time, the use of molybdenum nanoparticles would have several benefits. "Molybdenum oxide particles are considerably cheaper and also more stable than genetically produced enzymes," added Dr.
The research teams were supported by an interdisciplinary grant from the
Keywords for this news article include: Chemicals, Chemistry, Nanoparticle, Bioengineering, Nanotechnology, Medical Devices, Artificial Enzyme, Molybdenum Trioxide, Transition Elements, Emerging Technologies, Enzymes and Coenzymes, Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz.
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