The role of plant mitochondria in the biosynthesis of coenzymes

Photosynth Res. 2007 May;92(2):149-62. doi: 10.1007/s11120-007-9167-z. Epub 2007 Apr 27.


This last decade, many efforts were undertaken to understand how coenzymes, including vitamins, are synthesized in plants. Surprisingly, these metabolic pathways were often "quartered" between different compartments of the plant cell. Among these compartments, mitochondria often appear to have a key role, catalyzing one or several steps in these pathways. In the present review we will illustrate these new and important biosynthetic functions found in plant mitochondria by describing the most recent findings about the synthesis of two vitamins (folate and biotin) and one non-vitamin coenzyme (lipoate). The complexity of these metabolic routes raise intriguing questions, such as how the intermediate metabolites and the end-product coenzymes are exchanged between the various cellular territories, or what are the physiological reasons, if any, for such compartmentalization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotin / biosynthesis*
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Folic Acid / biosynthesis*
  • Folic Acid / chemistry
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Tetrahydrofolates / biosynthesis
  • Thioctic Acid / biosynthesis*
  • Thioctic Acid / chemistry


  • Fatty Acids
  • Tetrahydrofolates
  • 5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolic acid
  • Biotin
  • Thioctic Acid
  • Folic Acid