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Biochem J. 1981 Jun 15;196(3):675-81.

An alternative pathway for the biosynthesis of isoprenoid compounds in bacteria.


The pattern of incorporation of radioactivity from [1-14C]acetate and [2-14C]acetate into the polyprenyl side-chain of ubiquinones in bacteria (Azotobacter vinelandii, Pseudomonas sesami, Escherichia coli and Rhodopseudomonas capsulata) was studied. For this purpose, a new degradation method involving a modified Barbier-Wieland reaction of laevulinic acid was developed, and used along with the iodoform reaction. Both C-1 and C-2 of acetate were incorporated exclusively into C-2 of laevulinic acid suggesting that the well-known pathway through acetoacetyl-CoA ('acetoacetate pathway') was not operative in these bacteria. An alternative pathway ('acetolactate pathway'), starting with pyruvate and acetaldehyde as the distal precursors, and utilizing the reactions of leucine and valine metabolism, was postulated. It was also postulated that C-1 of acetate is incorporated not directly, but after oxidation to CO2. The pattern of incorporation of radioactivity from [U-14C]valine, [U-14C]alanine and NaH14CO3 into the side-chain of ubiquinone of R. capsulata was in agreement with the operation of the 'acetolactate pathway'.

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