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Res Microbiol. 2011 Jan;162(1):39-52. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2010.10.003. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Isoprenoid biosynthesis in Archaea--biochemical and evolutionary implications.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands. matsumirie@hotmail.com

Abstract

Isoprenoids are indispensable for all types of cellular life in the Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya. These membrane-associated molecules are involved in a wide variety of vital biological functions, ranging from compartmentalization and stability, to protection and energy-transduction. In Archaea, isoprenoid compounds constitute the hydrophobic moiety of the typical ether-linked membrane lipids. With respect to stereochemistry and composition, these archaeal lipids are very different from the ester-linked, fatty acid-based phospholipids in bacterial and eukaryotic membranes. This review provides an update on isoprenoid biosynthesis pathways, with a focus on the archaeal enzymes. The black-and-white distribution of fundamentally distinct membrane lipids in Archaea on the one hand, and Bacteria and Eucarya on the other, has previously been used as a basis for hypothetical evolutionary scenarios, a selection of which will be discussed here.

PMID:
21034816
DOI:
10.1016/j.resmic.2010.10.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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