, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 221-242

The common origins of the pigments of life—early steps of chlorophyll biosynthesis

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Abstract

The complex pathway of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis can be dissected into five sections: the pathways that produce 5-aminolevulinate (the C-4 and the C-5 pathways), the steps that transform ALA to uroporphyrinogen III, which are ubiquitous in the biosynthesis of all tetrapyrroles, and the three branches producing specialized end products. These end products include corrins and siroheme, chlorophylls and hemes and linear tetrapyrroles. These branches have been subjects of recent reviews. This review concentrates on the early steps leading up to uroporphyrinogen III formation which have been investigated intensively in recent years in animals, in plants, and in a wide range of bacteria.