Role of vitamin B12 on methylmalonyl-CoA mutase activity

J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2012 Jun;13(6):423-37. doi: 10.1631/jzus.B1100329.


Vitamin B(12) is an organometallic compound with important metabolic derivatives that act as cofactors of certain enzymes, which have been grouped into three subfamilies depending on their cofactors. Among them, methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MCM) has been extensively studied. This enzyme catalyzes the reversible isomerization of L-methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA using adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl) as a cofactor participating in the generation of radicals that allow isomerization of the substrate. The crystal structure of MCM determined in Propionibacterium freudenreichii var. shermanii has helped to elucidate the role of this cofactor AdoCbl in the reaction to specify the mechanism by which radicals are generated from the coenzyme and to clarify the interactions between the enzyme, coenzyme, and substrate. The existence of human methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) due to the presence of mutations in MCM shows the importance of its role in metabolism. The recent crystallization of the human MCM has shown that despite being similar to the bacterial protein, there are significant differences in the structural organization of the two proteins. Recent studies have identified the involvement of an accessory protein called MMAA, which interacts with MCM to prevent MCM's inactivation or acts as a chaperone to promote regeneration of inactivated enzyme. The interdisciplinary studies using this protein as a model in different organisms have helped to elucidate the mechanism of action of this isomerase, the impact of mutations at a functional level and their repercussion in the development and progression of MMA in humans. It is still necessary to study the mechanisms involved in more detail using new methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cobamides / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase / chemistry
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase / genetics
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase / metabolism*
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Propionibacterium / enzymology
  • Propionibacterium / genetics
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cobamides
  • Mutant Proteins
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Mutase
  • cobamamide
  • Vitamin B 12

Supplementary concepts

  • Methylmalonic acidemia