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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 1991;26(3-4):261-300.

Enzymology of the acetyl-CoA pathway of CO2 fixation.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


We know of three routes that organisms have evolved to synthesize complex organic molecules from CO2: the Calvin cycle, the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle, and the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway. This review describes the enzymatic steps involved in the acetyl-CoA pathway, also called the Wood pathway, which is the major mechanism of CO2 fixation under anaerobic conditions. The acetyl-CoA pathway is also able to form acetyl-CoA from carbon monoxide. There are two parts to the acetyl-CoA pathway: (1) reduction of CO2 to methyltetrahydrofolate (methyl-H4folate) and (2) synthesis of acetyl-CoA from methyl-H4folate, a carboxyl donor such as CO or CO2, and CoA. This pathway is unique in that the major intermediates are enzyme-bound and are often organometallic complexes. Our current understanding of the pathway is based on radioactive and stable isotope tracer studies, purification of the component enzymes (some extremely oxygen sensitive), and identification of the enzyme-bound intermediates by chromatographic, spectroscopic, and electrochemical techniques. This review describes the remarkable series of enzymatic steps involved in acetyl-CoA formation by this pathway that is a key component of the global carbon cycle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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