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Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Nov;13(11):567-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.08.005. Epub 2008 Sep 27.

L-Ascorbate biosynthesis in higher plants: the role of VTC2.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Molecular Biology Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


In the past year, the last missing enzyme of the L-galactose pathway, the linear form of which appears to represent the major biosynthetic route to L-ascorbate (vitamin C) in higher plants, has been identified as a GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase. This enzyme catalyzes the first committed step in the synthesis of that vital antioxidant and enzyme cofactor. Here, we discuss how GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase enzymes, encoded in Arabidopsis by the paralogous VTC2 and VTC5 genes, function in concert with the other enzymes of the L-galactose pathway to provide plants with the appropriate levels of L-ascorbate. We hypothesize that regulation of L-ascorbate biosynthesis might occur at more than one step and warrants further investigation to allow for the manipulation of vitamin C levels in plants.

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