Some Vitamins Associated With The Construction Mechanisms

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Vitamin B1

Vitamin Bi (thiamine) (Figure 2.28) is a water-soluble vitamin with a pyrimidinylmethylthia-zolium structure. It is widely available in the diet, with cereals, beans, nuts, eggs, yeast, and vegetables providing sources. Wheat germ and yeast have very high levels. Dietary deficiency leads to beriberi, characterized by neurological disorders, loss of appetite, fatigue,


thiamine (vitamin Bi)

thiamine (vitamin Bi)

HO2C, riboflavin T T OH (vitamin B2) OH OH

pyridoxine (pyridoxol)


pyridoxine (pyridoxol)




(vitamin Bg)


pantothenic acid

(vitamin B5) O


biotin (vitamin H)

Figure 2.28

and muscular weakness. Thiamine is produced synthetically, and foods such as cereals are often enriched. The vitamin is stable in acid solution, but decomposes above pH 5, and is also partially decomposed during normal cooking. As thiamine diphosphate, vitamin B1 is a coenzyme for pyruvate dehydrogenase which catalyses the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA {see page 21), and also for transketolase which transfers a two-carbon fragment between carbohydrates in the pentose phosphate pathway {see page 446). Accordingly, this is a very important component in carbohydrate metabolism.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 {riboflavin) {Figure 2.28) is a water-soluble vitamin having an isoalloxazine ring linked to D-ribitol. It is widely available in foods, including liver, kidney, dairy products, eggs, meat, and fresh vegetables. Yeast is a particularly rich source. It is stable in acid solution, not decomposed during cooking, but is sensitive to light. Riboflavin may be produced synthetically, or by fermentation using the yeastlike fungi Eremothecium ashbyii and Ashbya gossypii. Dietary deficiency is uncommon, but manifests itself by skin problems and eye disturbances. Riboflavin is a component of FMN {flavin mononucleotide) and FAD {flavin adenine dinucleotide), coenzymes which play a major role in oxidation-reduction reactions {see page 25). Many key enzymes containing riboflavin {flavoproteins) are involved in metabolic pathways. Since riboflavin contains ribitol and not ribose in its structure, FAD and FMN are not strictly nucleotides, though this nomenclature is commonly accepted and used.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 {pantothenic acid) {Figure 2.28) is a very widely distributed water-soluble vitamin, though yeast, liver, and cereals provide rich sources. Even though animals must obtain the vitamin through the diet, pantothenic acid deficiency is rare, since most foods provide


adequate quantities. Its importance in metabolism is as part of the structure of coenzyme A (see page 16), the carrier molecule essential for carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Pantothenic acid is specifically implicated in enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of fatty acids (see page 36), polyketides (page 62) and some peptides (page 421).

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 covers the three pyridine derivatives pyridoxine (pyridoxol), pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine, and also their 5 -phosphates (Figure 2.28). These are water-soluble vitamins, pyridoxine predominating in plant materials, whilst pyridoxal and pyridoxamine are the main forms in animal tissues. Meat, salmon, nuts, potatoes, bananas, and cereals are good sources. A high proportion of the vitamin activity can be lost during cooking, but a normal diet provides an adequate supply. Vitamin B6 deficiency is usually the result of malabsorption, or may be induced by some drug treatments where the drug may act as an antagonist or increase its renal excretion as a side-effect. Symptoms of deficiency are similar to those of niacin (vitamin B3) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiencies, and include eye, mouth, and nose lesions, and neurological changes. Synthetic pyridoxine is used for supplementation. Pyridoxal 5 -phosphate is a coenzyme for a large number of enzymes, particularly those involved in amino acid metabolism, e.g. in transamination (see page 20) and decarboxylation (see page 20). The production of the neurotransmitter y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) from glutamic acid is an important pyridoxal-dependent reaction.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin Bi2 (cobalamins) (Figure 2.29) are extremely complex structures based on a corrin ring, which, although similar to the porphyrin ring found in haem, chlorophyll, and cytochromes, h2noc h2noc h2noc conh2



h2noc h2noc h2noc

Hydroxocobalamin Mechanism

R = CN, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) R = OH, hydroxocobalamin (vitamin Bi2a) R = H2O, aquocobalamin (vitamin Bi2b) R = NO2, nitritocobalamin (vitamin Bi2c) R = Me, methylcobalamin (methyl vitamin B12)


corrin ring system corrin ring system

5'-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (coenzyme B12)

porphyrin ring system porphyrin ring system

{Continues )

has two of the pyrrole rings directly bonded. The central metal atom is cobalt; haem and cytochromes have iron, whilst chlorophyll has magnesium. Four of the six coordinations are provided by the corrin ring nitrogens, and a fifth by a dimethylbenzimidazole moiety. The sixth is variable, being cyano in cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), hydroxyl in hydroxocobalamin (vitamin B12a), or other anions may feature. Cyanocobalamin is actually an artefact formed as a result of the use of cyanide in the purification procedures. The physiologically active coenzyme form of the vitamin is 5 -deoxyadenosylcobalamin (coenzyme B12). Vitamin B12 appears to be entirely of microbial origin, with intestinal flora contributing towards human dietary needs. The vitamin is then stored in the liver, and animal liver extract has been a traditional source. Commercial supplies are currently obtained by semi-synthesis from the total cobalamin extract of Streptomyces griseus, Propionibacterium species, or other bacterial cultures. This material can be converted into cyanocobalamin or hydroxocobalamin. The cobalamins are stable when protected against light. Foods with a high vitamin B12 content include liver, kidney, meat, and seafood. Vegetables are a poor dietary source, and strict vegetarians may therefore risk deficiencies. Insufficient vitamin B12 leads to pernicious anaemia, a disease that results in nervous disturbances and low production of red blood cells, though this is mostly due to lack of the gastric glycoprotein (intrinsic factor) which complexes with the vitamin to facilitate its absorption. Traditionally, daily consumption of raw liver was used to counteract the problem. Cyanocobalamin, or preferably hydroxocobalamin which has a longer lifetime in the body, may be administered orally or by injection to counteract deficiencies. Both agents are converted into coenzyme B12 in the body. Coenzyme B12 is a cofactor for a number of metabolic rearrangements, such as the conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA into succinyl-CoA in the oxidation of fatty acids with an odd number of carbon atoms, and for methylations, such as in the biosynthesis of methionine.

Vitamin H

Vitamin H (biotin) (Figure 2.28) is a water-soluble vitamin found in eggs, liver, kidney, yeast, cereals, and milk, and is also produced by intestinal microflora so that dietary deficiency is rare. Deficiency can be triggered by a diet rich in raw egg white, in which a protein, avidin, binds biotin so tightly so that it is effectively unavailable for metabolic use. This affinity disappears by cooking and hence denaturing the avidin. Biotin deficiency leads to dermatitis and hair loss. The vitamin functions as a carboxyl carrier, binding CO2 via a carbamate link, then donating this in carboxylase reactions, e.g. carboxylation of acetyl-CoA to malonyl-CoA (see page 17), of propionyl-CoA to methylmalonyl-CoA (see page 92), and of pyruvate to oxaloacetate during gluconeogenesis.

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