The complexation of molybdate with the nucleotides adenosine-5'-monophosphate (5'-AMP), adenosine-3'-monophosphate (3'-AMP) and guanosine-5'-monophosphate (5'-GMP) has been investigated by (1)H and (31)P NMR and Mo K-edge X-ray absorption near edge (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy. Acidification of aqueous solutions containing molybdate and each of the nucleotides resulted in the formation of a single species characterized by (1)H resonances which are deshielded relative to those of free nucleotide. Analysis of the two-component systems indicated a Mo/nucleotide ratio of 2.5:1 for the complexation species. White compounds, characterized as Na(2)[Mo(5)O(15)(HB)(2)] (B=5'-AMP, 5'-GMP), have been isolated from the acidified molybdate/H(2)B solutions. Dissolution in D(2)O replicates the NMR spectra of the solution species observed prior to precipitation. Solution and solid state Mo K-edge XAS and EXAFS spectroscopy of Na(2)[Mo(5)O(15)(HAMP)(2)] and Na(6)[Mo(5)O(15)(PO(4))(2)] provide convincing evidence for the presence of a pentamolybdodiphosphate core in the molybdate-nucleotide complexes in both the solid and solution states.