The Use of Labeled Substrates in the Study of Isoprenoid Degradation
The oxidative shortening of branched carbon chains is associated with the degradation of branched amino and fatty acids. Similar processes convert cholesterol to bile acids and steroid hormones and have also been postulated for the formation of vitamin A from β-carotene. Some years ago, little was known about the mechanisms of these processes, with the exception of leucine degradation. This tempted us to study the mechanism of isoprenoid degradation. Like the above substrates, these compounds are built up by a branched carbon skeleton, and the study of their catabolism could reveal some basic reactions involved in the shortening of branched carbon chains.
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