(E)-4-Hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate

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(E)-4-Hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMB-PP) is an isoprenoid precursor in the non-mevalonate pathway (also known as the MEP/DOXP pathway) of isoprenoid biosynthesis. This pathway is responsible for the biosynthesis of many crucial compounds, including certain vitamins, quinones, and terpenoids, in bacteria, plastids of plants, and some protozoa. HMB-PP is considered a key intermediate in this pathway, lying downstream of 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate (MEC) and upstream of isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP), which are direct precursors of various terpenoids.

Biosynthesis[edit | edit source]

HMB-PP is synthesized from 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate (MEC) in a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme HMB-PP synthase. This step involves the removal of a phosphate group and the formation of the HMB-PP molecule, which contains a conjugated ene-diol structure, characteristic of its role as a chemical intermediate.

Function[edit | edit source]

In the non-mevalonate pathway, HMB-PP serves as a direct precursor to isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP). These molecules are essential building blocks for the synthesis of all isoprenoids, a diverse class of biological molecules that includes carotenoids, steroids, and dolichols. HMB-PP is thus central to the metabolic processes that produce these compounds, which are vital for cell membrane structure, hormones, vitamins, and energy carriers among others.

Importance in Research and Medicine[edit | edit source]

HMB-PP is of significant interest in both basic and applied research due to its role in the non-mevalonate pathway, which is present in many pathogens but absent in humans. This makes the enzymes of this pathway, including HMB-PP synthase, potential targets for the development of new antibiotics and antimalarial drugs. Furthermore, HMB-PP is known to be a potent activator of human Vγ9Vδ2 T cells, a type of T cell that plays a role in the immune response to infection and cancer. This has implications for the development of immune therapies and vaccines.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD