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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2008 Jun 15;474(2):238-51. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Feb 21.

The biochemistry of heme biosynthesis.

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  • 1Institute of Microbiology, Technical University of Braunschweig, Spielmannstr. 7, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


Heme is an integral part of proteins involved in multiple electron transport chains for energy recovery found in almost all forms of life. Moreover, heme is a cofactor of enzymes including catalases, peroxidases, cytochromes of the P(450) class and part of sensor molecules. Here the step-by-step biosynthesis of heme including involved enzymes, their mechanisms and detrimental health consequences caused by their failure are described. Unusual and challenging biochemistry including tRNA-dependent reactions, radical SAM enzymes and substrate derived cofactors are reported.

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