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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 1997 Aug;27(4):405-12.

Evolutionary consideration on 5-aminolevulinate synthase in nature.

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  • 1Research Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Tokyo, Japan.


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 alpha 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 alpha subclass of purple bacteria is discussed in relation to the energy-generating and biosynthetic devices in subclasses of this bacteria.

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