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Heme-protein biogenesis

Logistics of intracellular heme transport
Logistics of intracellular heme transport with squares representing heme groups and circles proteins.

After the final step in heme B synthesis the heme is inserted into proteins or first enzymatically modified into another types of heme. Heme is not water soluble in the cell and is a toxic molecule especially in the reduced form and in the presence of dioxygen. It is not known how it is transferred inside cells from the ferrochelatase to its final destination which may be in another cell compartment. This transport is studied in Enterococcus faecalis which is an organism that does not depend on heme for growth but which can take up heme from the surroundings, transport it intracellularly and incorporate it into protein.

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