Researchers report the first details of how cholesterol is metabolized without oxygen.
Cholesterol, a precursor to steroid hormones and a constituent of cell membranes, is usually broken down inside an organism in the presence of oxygen. The chemical reactions involved are well-known and have been used in industry to manufacture synthetic sexual hormones and dietary supplements. Cholesterol can also be broken down without oxygen, but very little is known about the chemical mechanisms at work.
Georg Fuchs and colleagues report the first study of these mechanisms. They used a bacterium called Sterolibacterium denitrificans and carefully looked at how cholesterol was broken down in this organism. The results, which revealed new compounds not previously seen in reactions involving oxygen, could be used to produce new pharmaceuticals for cholesterol-related diseases.
Article: "Initial steps in the anoxic metabolism of cholesterol by the denitrifying Sterolibacterium denitrificans" by Yin-Ru Chiang, Wael Ismail, Michael Muller, and Georg Fuchs
The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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