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Ubiquinone. Biosynthesis of quinone ring and its isoprenoid side chain. Intracellular localization.

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Ubiquinone, known as coenzyme Q, was shown to be the part of the metabolic pathways by Crane et al. in 1957. Its function as a component of the mitochondrial respiratory chain is well established. However, ubiquinone has recently attracted increasing attention with regard to its function, in the reduced form, as an antioxidant. In ubiquinone synthesis the para-hydroxybenzoate ring (which is the derivative of tyrosine or phenylalanine) is condensed with a hydrophobic polyisoprenoid side chain, whose length varies from 6 to 10 isoprene units depending on the organism. para-Hydroxybenzoate (PHB) polyprenyltransferase that catalyzes the condensation of PHB with polyprenyl diphosphate has a broad substrate specificity. Most of the genes encoding (all-E)-prenyltransferases which synthesize polyisoprenoid chains, have been cloned. Their structure is either homo- or heterodimeric. Genes that encode prenyltransferases catalysing the transfer of the isoprenoid chain to para-hydroxybenzoate were also cloned in bacteria and yeast. To form ubiquinone, prenylated PHB undergoes several modifications such as hydroxylations, O-methylations, methylations and decarboxylation. In eukaryotes ubiquinones were found in the inner mitochondrial membrane and in other membranes such as the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi vesicles, lysosomes and peroxisomes. Still, the subcellular site of their biosynthesis remains unclear. Considering the diversity of functions of ubiquinones, and their multistep biosynthesis, identification of factors regulating their cellular level remains an elusive task.
Physical description
  • Department of Lipid Biochemistry, Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, A. Pawińskiego 5a, 02-106 Warszawa, Poland
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