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Ciba Foundation Symposium 180 - The Biosynthesis of the

Prestigious participants summarize present wisdom concerning the biosynthesis of tetrapyrrole pigments--chlorophyll, haem, nutrition B12. Describes the constitution and legislation of key enzymes in addition to a variety of pathways, molecular genetic reports and structural characterization of the traditional biosynthetic intermediates.


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Trends Biochem Sci 13:139-143 Masuda T, Komine Y, Inokuchi H, Kannangara CG, Tsuji €I 1992 Sequence and expression of tRNAC'" gene of cucumber chloroplast genome. Plant Physiol Biochem (Paris) 30:235-243 Meller E, Belkin S, Hare1 E 1975 The biosynthesis of 6-aminolevulinic acid in greening maize leaves. Phytochemistry 14:2399-2402 Murakami K, Korbsrisate S, Asahara N, Hashimoto Y, Murooka Y 1993 Cloning and characterization of the glutamate I -semialdehyde aminomutase gene from Xunthornonus campestris pv.

The hemT gene does not seem to be expressed under any physiological conditions so far tested. Why R . sphaeroides requires two isoenzymes for ALA synthase is therefore unclear. However, the existence of the two genes and their recombinant expression does provide us with the opportun;ty to compare the kinetic activities of the two enzymes. The hemA and hemT genes encode isoenzymes of 406 amino acids which have about 50% amino acid sequence identity. The hemA gene of R . sphaeroides is more like the hemA gene of Bradrhizobiumjaponicum than it is like the hemT gene (Neidle & Kaplan 1993).

Here we shall be discussing some recent work on the enzyme responsible for the condensation of glycine and succinyl-CoA into ALA, ALA synthase. The biosynthesis of ALA acid via glycine and succinyl-CoA occurs in photosynthetic bacteria and most eukaryotes, the major exceptions in this latter class being higher plants and algae in which the C5 pathway is prevalent. The enzyme was first described more than 35 years ago (Gibson et a1 1958, Kikuchi et a1 1958) and has now been isolated from many sources including R .

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