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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Nov;14(3):391-8.

Biosynthesis and functional role of haem O and haem A.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Haem O and/or haem A are specifically synthesized for the haem-copper respiratory oxidases. A 17-carbon hydroxyethylfarnesyl chain at the pyrrole ring A of the haems seems essential for catalytic functions at the oxygen-reduction site. The discovery of haem O in the cytochrome bo complex from Escherichia coli was a breakthrough in the studies on haem A biosynthesis. Molecular biological and biochemical studies in the past three years demonstrated that the cyoE/ctaB/COX10 genes are indispensable for functional expression of the terminal oxidases and encode a novel enzyme haem O synthase (protohaem IX farnesyltransferase). It has recently been suggested that the ctaA gene adjacent to the ctaB-ctaCDEF gene cluster in Bacillus subtilis encodes haem A synthase (haem O monooxygenase). In this article, we review current knowledge of the genes for haem O and haem A biosyntheses, the location and regulation of haem O synthase, the possible enzymatic mechanism of farnesyl transfer to haem B and the possible roles of the farnesylated haems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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