1Pharmazeutisches Institut, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Gutenbergstraße 76, 24118 Kiel, Germany.
2Zoologisches Institut-Strukturbiologie, Zentrum für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24118 Kiel, Germany.
The mitochondrial amidoxime-reducing component (mARC) is the most recently discovered molybdoenzyme in humans after sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase and aldehyde oxidase. Here, the timeline of mARC's discovery is briefly described. The story begins with investigations into N-oxidation of pharmaceutical drugs and model compounds. Many compounds are N-oxidized extensively in vitro, but it turned out that a previously unknown enzyme catalyzes the retroreduction of the N-oxygenated products in vivo. After many years, the molybdoenzyme mARC could finally be isolated and identified in 2006. mARC is an important drug-metabolizing enzyme and N-reduction by mARC has been exploited very successfully for prodrug strategies, that allow oral administration of otherwise poorly bioavailable therapeutic drugs. Recently, it was demonstrated that mARC is a key factor in lipid metabolism and likely involved in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The exact link between mARC and lipid metabolism is not yet fully understood. Regardless, many now consider mARC a potential drug target for the prevention or treatment of liver diseases. This article focusses on discoveries related to mammalian mARC enzymes. mARC homologues have been studied in algae, plants and bacteria. These will not be discussed extensively here.