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Keywords:

  • Isoprenoid pathway;
  • Mevalonic acid;
  • Isopentenylpyrophosphate

Abstract The biosynthesis of isopentenylpyrophosphate, a central intermediate of isoprenoid formation, was investigated in six different bacterial organisms. Cell-free extracts of Myxococcus fulvus, Staphylococcus carnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Halobacterium cutirubrum converted [14C]acetyl-CoA or [14C]hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA to [14C]mevalonic acid. Furthermore, [14C]mevalonic acid, [14C]mevalonate-5-phosphate and [14C]mevalonate-5-pyrophosphate were metabolized to [14C]isopentenylpyrophosphate in bacteria. In contrast, no intermediates of this reaction sequence could be detected using cell-free extracts of Zymomonas mobilis and Escherichia coli. These results indicate that at least two different pathways for the biosynthesis of isopentenylpyrophosphate are present in bacteria.