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Trends Biochem Sci. 1992 Jun;17(6):215-8.

Glutamyl-transfer RNA: a precursor of heme and chlorophyll biosynthesis.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.


In green plants, archaebacteria and many eubacteria, the porphyrin ring that is common to both chlorophyll and heme is synthesized from 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) via an interesting pathway. This two-step process involves the unusual enzymes glutamyl-tRNA reductase and glutamate-1-semialdehyde 2,1-aminomutase. Interest in this pathway has increased since it was discovered that a tRNA cofactor was required for the formation of ALA. This tRNA(Glu) is common to the biosyntheses of both porphyrins and proteins.

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