Crystallographic structure (monomer) of bovine xanthine oxidase.
The bounded FAD (red), FeS-cluster (orange), the molybdopterin cofactor with molybdenum (yellow) and salicylate (blue) are indicated.
|PDB structures||RCSB PDB PDBe PDBsum|
|Gene Ontology||AmiGO / EGO|
|PDB||1FIQ (RCSB PDB PDBe PDBj)|
|Locus||Chr. 2 p23.1|
Xanthine oxidase (XO, sometimes 'XAO') is a form of xanthine oxidoreductase, a type of enzyme that generates reactive oxygen species. These enzymes catalyze the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine and can further catalyze the oxidation of xanthine to uric acid. These enzymes play an important role in the catabolism of purines in some species, including humans.
Xanthine oxidase is defined as an enzyme activity (EC 220.127.116.11). The same protein, which in humans has the HGNC approved gene symbol XDH, can also have xanthine dehydrogenase activity (EC 18.104.22.168). Most of the protein in the liver exists in a form with xanthine dehydrogenase activity, but it can be converted to xanthine oxidase by reversible sulfhydryl oxidation or by irreversible proteolytic modification.
The following chemical reactions are catalyzed by xanthine oxidase:
- hypoxanthine + H2O + O2 xanthine + H2O2
- xanthine + H2O + O2 uric acid + H2O2
- Xanthine oxidase can also act on certain other purines, pterins, and aldehydes. For example, it efficiently converts 1-methylxanthine (a metabolite of caffeine) to 1-methyluric acid, but has little activity on 3-methylxanthine.
- Under some circumstances it can produce superoxide ion RH + H2O + 2 O2 ROH + 2 O2− + 2 H+.
The protein is large, having a molecular weight of 270 kDa, and has 2 flavin molecules (bound as FAD), 2 molybdenum atoms, and 8 iron atoms bound per enzymatic unit. The molybdenum atoms are contained as molybdopterin cofactors and are the active sites of the enzyme. The iron atoms are part of [2Fe-2S] ferredoxin iron-sulfur clusters and participate in electron transfer reactions.
The active site of XO is composed of a molybdopterin unit with the molybdenum atom also coordinated by terminal oxygen (oxo), sulfur atoms and a terminal hydroxide. In the reaction with xanthine to form uric acid, an oxygen atom is transferred from molybdenum to xanthine, whereby several intermediates are assumed to be involved. The reformation of the active molybdenum center occurs by the addition of water. Like other known molybdenum-containing oxidoreductases, the oxygen atom introduced to the substrate by XO originates from water rather than from dioxygen (O2).
As well, because xanthine oxidase is a metabolic pathway for uric acid formation, the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol is used in the treatment of gout. Since xanthine oxidase is involved in the metabolism of 6-mercaptopurine, caution should be taken before administering allopurinol and 6-mercaptopurine, or its prodrug azathioprine, in conjunction.
Xanthinuria is a rare genetic disorder where the lack of xanthine oxidase leads to high concentration of xanthine in blood and can cause health problems such as renal failure. There is no specific treatment, sufferers are advised by doctors to avoid foods high in purine and to maintain a high fluid intake. Type I xanthinuria has been traced directly to mutations of the XDH gene which mediates xanthine oxidase activity. Type II xanthinuria may result from a failure of the mechanism which inserts sulfur into the active sites of xanthine oxidase and aldehyde oxidase, a related enzyme with some overlapping activities (such as conversion of allopurinol to oxypurinol.
Inhibition of xanthine oxidase has been proposed as a mechanism for improving cardiovascular health.
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- "KEGG record for EC 22.214.171.124".
- "KEGG record for EC 126.96.36.199".
- "Entrez Gene: XDH xanthine dehydrogenase".
- "*607633 XANTHINE DEHYDROGENASE; XDH".
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- "OMIM: Xanthinuria type II".
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