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Biochem Soc Trans. 2002 Aug;30(4):643-5.

Current understanding of the function of magnesium chelatase.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK. J.Reid@sheffield.ac.uk


Despite the global significance of chlorophylls and other modified tetrapyrroles, many aspects of their biosynthetic pathways are poorly understood. A key enzyme at the branch point between the haem and chlorophyll pathways, magnesium chelatase, couples the free energy of ATP hydrolysis to the insertion of magnesium into porphyrin, a process that is likely to be mediated through protein conformational changes. Conclusions from recent structural and functional studies of individual subunits are combined to provide a mechanistic outline of the full magnesium chelatase complex. Gathering further information presents a considerable challenge, and recent steps towards this goal will be introduced.

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