SOEs (sulfite-oxidizing enzymes) are physiologically vital and occur in all forms of life. During the catalytic cycle, the five-co-ordinate square pyramidal oxo-molybdenum active site passes through the Mo(V) state, and intimate details of the structure can be obtained from variable frequency pulsed EPR spectroscopy through the hyperfine and nuclear quadrupole interactions of nearby magnetic nuclei. By employing variable spectrometer operational frequencies, it is possible to optimize the measurement conditions for difficult quadrupolar nuclei of interest (e.g. 17O, 33S, 35Cl and 37Cl) and to simplify the interpretation of the spectra. Isotopically labelled model Mo(V) compounds provide further insight into the electronic and geometric structures and chemical reactions of the enzymes. Recently, blocked forms of SOEs having co-ordinated sulfate, the reaction product, were detected using 33S (I=3/2) labelling. This blocking of product release is a possible contributor to fatal human sulfite oxidase deficiency in young children.

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