Two biosynthetic pathways are known for the universal tetrapyrrole precursor, delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA). In the ALA synthase pathway which was first described in animal and some bacterial cells, the pyridoxal phosphate-dependent enzyme ALA synthase catalyzes condensation of glycine and succinyl-CoA to form ALA with the loss of C-1 of glycine as CO2. In the five-carbon pathway which was first described in plant and algal cells, the carbon skeleton of glutamate is converted intact to ALA in a proposed reaction sequence that requires three enzymes, tRNA(Glu), ATP, Mg2+, NADPH, and pyridoxal phosphate. We have examined the distribution of the two ALA biosynthetic pathways among various genera, using cell-free extracts obtained from representative organisms. Evidence for the operation of the five-carbon pathway was obtained by the measurement of RNase-sensitive label incorporation from glutamate into ALA, using 3,4-[3H]glutamate or 1-[14C]glutamate as substrate. ALA synthase activity was indicated by RNase-insensitive incorporation of label from 2-[14C]glycine into ALA. The distribution of the two pathways among the bacteria tested was in general agreement with their previously established phylogenetic relationships and clearly indicates that the five-carbon pathway is the more ancient process, whereas the pathway utilizing ALA synthase probably evolved much later. The five-carbon pathway is apparently the more widely utilized one among bacteria, while the ALA synthase pathway seems to be limited to the alpha subgroup of purple bacteria.
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|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Gene||Gene Systematic Name||Phenotype||Experiment Type||Experiment Type Category||Mutant Information||Strain Background||Chemical||Details||Reference|
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