Porphyrin Metabolism

M. Shepherd, Amy Elizabeth Medlock, H. A. Dailey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Porphyrins are tetrapyrrole, macrocyclic organic compounds that are essential for life on the Earth. Metallated porphyrins participate in a variety of reactions including oxidation/reduction reactions, sulfur and nitrogen reduction, methane production, methyl group transfer, gas sensing, and light-harvesting reactions. All porphyrins are derived from a common precursor,δ-aminolevulinic acid, and their synthesis proceeds along a common pathway for several steps before diverging to form various metallated tetrapyrrole compounds which include heme, chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll, siroheme, heme d1, and factor F430. In addition, coenzyme B12, which is a corrin rather than a porphyrin, is also a product of the branched pathway. Regulation of the synthesis of porphyrins is complex and not completely understood in most cases, although it is clear that the regulation of the synthesis of the common precursor serves a primary role. Deficiencies in porphyrin metabolism have serious consequences on organismal growth and development and are of biomedical and agricultural interest. The catabolism of metalloporphyrins is essential for the removal of potentially toxic compounds, but can also provide benefits to the host organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biological Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786319
ISBN (Print)9780123786302
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aminolevulinate
  • Bilirubin
  • Biliverdin
  • Chlorophyll
  • Coenzyme B
  • Factor F430
  • Heme
  • Porphobilinogen
  • Porphyrias
  • Porphyrin
  • Protoporphyrin IX
  • Pyrrole
  • Siroheme
  • Tetrapyrrole
  • Uroporphyrinogen III

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Porphyrin Metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this