The Vanin genes are a family that encode pantetheinases involved in recycling Coenzyme A, catalysing the breakdown of intermediate pantetheine to vitamin B5 for reuse in CoA biosynthesis. The role of pantetheinase in this most fundamental of cellular processes, was substantially characterised by the 1970s. The next 20 years saw little further interest in pantetheinase until various genetic studies implicated the Vanin locus in a range of normal and disease phenotypes, and a consequent interest in the other product of pantetheinase activity, cysteamine. This report seeks to bring together the early biochemical studies with recent biological data implicating cysteamine as a regulator of the oxidative state of a cell. Numerous studies now report a role for Vanin in inflammation, oxidative stress, cell migration and numerous diseases including cardiovascular disease.
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