Further electron-paramagnetic-resonance studies relating to the role of molybdenum in the enzymic mechanisms of xanthine oxidase were carried out. The classification of the various molybdenum signals obtained on reducing the enzyme is briefly discussed. The group of ‘Rapidly appearing’ signals, which are obtained with all substrates within the turnover time and which show interaction with exchangeable protons, were studied in detail. Signals with salicylaldehyde, purine and xanthine in H2O and in 95% D2O were examined at 9 and 35GHz and interpreted with the help of computer simulation. Molybdenum atoms in a number of different chemical environments are involved, each substrate giving rise to two superimposed spectra with slightly different parameters; g values and proton splittings were determined. The spectrum with salicylaldehyde is believed to represent the reduced enzyme alone not in the form of a complex with substrate and its two constituents are believed to represent the two molybdenum atoms bonded slightly differently within the enzyme molecule. With purine and xanthine the spectra are thought to represent complexes of reduced enzyme with substrate molecules. With xanthine one signal-giving species shows coupling to two equivalent protons, whereas in all the other species observed two non-equivalent protons are involved. The origin of the protons is discussed in the light of the direct hydrogen-transfer mechanism implicated earlier for the enzyme. It is concluded that the proton derived from the substrate is located at least 3å from the molybdenum atom with which it interacts.

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