NICOTINAMIDE adenine dinucleotide (NAD) has a fundamental role in metabolic processes as an electron transport molecule. Although its chemical structure was elucidated1 in 1934, its detailed conformation remains still to be established in spite of numerous physicochemical applications2. NAD analogues with a variety of substitutions on the bases are known to retain considerable activity of the natural coenzyme as long as the pyrophosphate diester group has been retained3,4. The geometry of this backbone moiety is therefore indispensable to our understanding of the conformation and function of the coenzyme. We have so far no experimental evidence on this in NAD or any other nucleotide coenzyme molecule. X-ray studies have been possible only on those analogues5,6 where the nicotinamide and adenine rings are linked by a trimethylene bridge. The results are conflicting and it is difficult to use them to provide a structural basis for the NAD molecule itself, particularly as the phosphate backbone is absent from these analogues.
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VISWAMITRA, M. Molecular structure of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. Nature 258, 540–542 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1038/258540a0
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