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Nat Prod Rep. 2007 Oct;24(5):988-1008. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

Elucidating biosynthetic pathways for vitamins and cofactors.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EA, UK.


The elucidation of the pathways to the water-soluble vitamins and cofactors has provided many biochemical and chemical challenges. This is a reflection both of their complex chemical nature, and the fact that they are often made in small amounts, making detection of the enzyme activities and intermediates difficult. Here we present an orthogonal review of how these challenges have been overcome using a combination of methods, which are often ingenious. We make particular reference to some recent developments in the study of biotin, pantothenate, folate, pyridoxol, cobalamin, thiamine, riboflavin and molybdopterin biosynthesis.

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