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Pyridine is a heterocyclic compound and the heteroatom is nitrogen.

In organic chemistry, a heteroatom (from Ancient Greek heteros, different, + atomos) is any atom that is not carbon or hydrogen. Usually, the term is used to indicate that non-carbon atoms have replaced carbon in the backbone of the molecular structure. Typical heteroatoms are nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, bromine, and iodine.[1][2]

In the description of protein structure, in particular in the Protein Data Bank file format, a heteroatom record (HETATM) describes an atom as belonging to a small molecule cofactor rather than being part of a biopolymer chain.[3]


  1. ^ Senda Y (2002). "Role of the heteroatom o in the complex metal hydride reduction of six-membered cyclic ketones". Chirality 14 (2-3): 110–20. doi:10.1002/chir.10051. 
  2. ^ Cheves Wallin. "The Role of Heteroatoms in Oxidation, Oxidation of Organic Compounds, Chapter 13". Advances in Chemistry 75: 166–173. doi:10.1021/ba-1968-0075.ch013. 
  3. ^ "Atomic Coordinate Entry Format Version 3.2". wwPDB. October 2008. 

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