Biosynthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin: conversion of dihydroneopterin triphosphate to tetrahydropterin intermediates

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1985 May 16;128(3):1099-107. doi: 10.1016/0006-291x(85)91053-8.


It is known that the first step in the de novo synthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin from GTP is the conversion of GTP to dihydroneopterin triphosphate. Recent evidence supports the conclusion that beyond this first step, the pterin intermediates in the pathway are all at the tetrahydro level of reduction. We have now shown that partially purified fractions from rat liver, rat brain and bovine adrenal medulla catalyze the conversion of dihydroneopterin triphosphate to tetrahydrobiopterin, as well as to the putative intermediates in the pathway, 6-pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin and 6-lactoyl-tetrahydropterin. Results of both enzymatic and chemical studies support the assigned structures for the latter two tetrahydropterins. We have also purified extensively from brain an enzyme, distinct from sepiapterin reductase, that catalyzes the TPNH-dependent reduction of 6-pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin to 6-lactoyl-tetrahydropterin. The role of this reductase in tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis has not yet been established.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Medulla / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biopterin / analogs & derivatives
  • Biopterin / biosynthesis*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Neopterin / analogs & derivatives
  • Pteridines / biosynthesis*
  • Pteridines / metabolism
  • Pterins / metabolism
  • Rats


  • Pteridines
  • Pterins
  • tetrahydropterin
  • dihydroneopterin triphosphate
  • Biopterin
  • Neopterin
  • sapropterin