Tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, uroporphyrinogen III synthase (IPR003754)

Short name: 4pyrrol_synth_uPrphyn_synth

Domain relationships



This entry represents uroporphyrinogen III synthase (EC: which functions during the second stage of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. This enzyme catalyses the inversion of the final pyrrole unit (ring D) of the linear tetrapyrrole molecule, linking it to the first pyrrole unit (ring A), thereby generating a large macrocyclic structure called uroporphyrinogen III [PMID: 11215515]. The enzyme folds into two alpha/beta domains connected by a beta-ladder, the active site being located between the two domains [PMID: 11689424]. Congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism that results from the markedly deficient activity of uroporphyrinogen III synthase [PMID: 17270473].

Tetrapyrroles are large macrocyclic compounds derived from a common biosynthetic pathway [PMID: 16564539]. The end-product, uroporphyrinogen III, is used to synthesise a number of important molecules, including vitamin B12, haem, sirohaem, chlorophyll, coenzyme F430 and phytochromobilin [PMID: 17227226].

  • The first stage in tetrapyrrole synthesis is the synthesis of 5-aminoaevulinic acid ALA via two possible routes: (1) condensation of succinyl CoA and glycine (C4 pathway) using ALA synthase (EC:, or (2) decarboxylation of glutamate (C5 pathway) via three different enzymes, glutamyl-tRNA synthetase (EC: to charge a tRNA with glutamate, glutamyl-tRNA reductase (EC: to reduce glutamyl-tRNA to glutamate-1-semialdehyde (GSA), and GSA aminotransferase (EC: to catalyse a transamination reaction to produce ALA.

  • The second stage is to convert ALA to uroporphyrinogen III, the first macrocyclic tetrapyrrolic structure in the pathway. This is achieved by the action of three enzymes in one common pathway: porphobilinogen (PBG) synthase (or ALA dehydratase, EC: to condense two ALA molecules to generate porphobilinogen; hydroxymethylbilane synthase (or PBG deaminase, EC: to polymerise four PBG molecules into preuroporphyrinogen (tetrapyrrole structure); and uroporphyrinogen III synthase (EC: to link two pyrrole units together (rings A and D) to yield uroporphyrinogen III.

  • Uroporphyrinogen III is the first branch point of the pathway. To synthesise cobalamin (vitamin B12), sirohaem, and coenzyme F430, uroporphyrinogen III needs to be converted into precorrin-2 by the action of uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferase (EC: To synthesise haem and chlorophyll, uroporphyrinogen III needs to be decarboxylated into coproporphyrinogen III by the action of uroporphyrinogen III decarboxylase (EC: [PMID: 11215515].

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0033014 tetrapyrrole biosynthetic process

Molecular Function

GO:0004852 uroporphyrinogen-III synthase activity

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.