Nutritional biochemistry

A new redox-cofactor vitamin for mammals

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Abstract

Nicotinamides and flavins are essential cofactors in enzyme-catalysed reduction–oxidation (redox) reactions and are classified as vitamins because they must be supplied in the diet. Another redox cofactor, pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), was first discovered in bacteria1 and is also likely to be important in mammals2,3, but the biochemical pathways in which it participates are unknown. Here we identify a PQQ-dependent dehydrogenase enzyme that is crucial for the degradation of the amino acid lysine in mice. PQQ is acting as a mammalian redox cofactor in this reaction, and therefore qualifies as a newcomer to the B group of vitamins.

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Figure 1: The role of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) in mammalian lysine degradation.

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Correspondence to Tadafumi Kato.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Kasahara, T., Kato, T. A new redox-cofactor vitamin for mammals. Nature 422, 832 (2003) doi:10.1038/422832a

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