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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;467:637-44.

Latest on enzymology of serotonin biosynthesis in walnut seeds.

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  • 1GSF National Research Center for Environment and Health, Neuherberg, Germany.


Serotonin (5-HT) accumulation in walnut cotyledons is seen as a detoxification mechanism protecting the sensitive plant tissues of seeds from highly toxic ammonia concentrations following seed desiccation. Different metabolic pathways and cell compartments are involved in biosynthesis and storage of 5-HT. Ammonia fixation and incorporation into the indole moiety of tryptophan is followed by 5-HT biosynthesis via tryptamine in a two-step pathway with the adaptive tryptophan decarboxylase and the constitutive tryptamine 5-hydroxylase. Evidence is provided that tryptamine 5-hydroxylase is a member of the cytochrome P450 family which is involved in lipid hydroxylation processes in the very early period of seed development.

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