Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 405–412 | Cite as




5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a universal precursor of tetrapyrrole compounds can be synthesized by two pathways: the C5 (glutamate) pathway and ALA synthase. From the phylogenetic distribution it is shown that distribution of ALA synthase is restricted to the α subclass of purple bacteria in prokaryotes, and further distributed to mitochondria of eukaryotes. The monophyletic origin of bacterial and eukaryotic ALA synthase is shown by sequence analysis of the enzyme. Evolution of ALA synthase in the α subclass of purple bacteria is discussed in relation to the energy-generating and biosynthetic devices in subclasses of this bacteria.


Enzyme Organic Chemistry Glutamate Geochemistry Sequence Analysis 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
  1. 1.The Research Institute of Evolutionary BiologyTokyoJapan

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