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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Oct;63(19-20):2291-303.

Structural and biological aspects of carotenoid cleavage.

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Institut für Organische Chemie und Biochemie, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Albertstr. 21, 79104, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.


Apo-carotenoid compounds such as retinol (vitamin A) are involved in a variety of cellular processes and are found in all kingdoms of life. Instead of being synthesized from small precursors, they are commonly produced by oxidative cleavage and subsequent modification of larger carotenoid compounds. The cleavage reaction is catalyzed by a family of related enzymes, which convert specific substrate double bonds to the corresponding aldehydes or ketones. The individual family members differ in their substrate preference and the position of the cleaved double bond, giving rise to a remarkable number of products starting from a limited number of carotenoid substrate molecules. The recent determination of the structure of a member of this family has provided insight into the reaction mechanism, showing how substrate specificity is achieved. This review will focus on the biochemistry of carotenoid oxygenases and the structural determinants of the cleavage reaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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