Bacterial nitrate reductases: molecular and biological aspects of nitrate reduction

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Nitrogen is a vital component in living organisms as it participates in the making of essential biomolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, etc. In the biosphere, nitrogen cycles between the oxidation states +V and -III producing many species that constitute the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen. All reductive branches of this cycle involve the conversion of nitrate to nitrite, which is catalyzed by the enzyme nitrate reductase. The characterization of nitrate reductases from prokaryotic organisms has allowed us to gain considerable information on the molecular basis of nitrate reduction. Prokaryotic nitrate reductases are mononuclear Mo-containing enzymes sub-grouped as respiratory nitrate reductases, periplasmic nitrate reductases and assimilatory nitrate reductases. We review here the biological and molecular properties of these three enzymes along with their gene organization and expression, which are necessary to understand the biological processes involved in nitrate reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1023
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006
Event12th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry - Ann Arbor, United States
Duration: 31 Jul 20055 Aug 2005


  • Assimilatory nitrate reductase
  • Mononuclear Mo-containing enzymes
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Periplasmic nitrate reductase
  • Respiratory nitrate reductase


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