Hepatic alpha-oxidation of phytanic acid. A revised pathway.Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999; 466:273-81.AE
Synthetic 3-methyl-branched chain fatty acids were used to decipher the breakdown of phytanic acid. Based on results obtained in intact or permeabilized rat hepatocytes, rat liver homogenates or subcellular fractions, a revised alpha-oxidation pathway is proposed which appears to be functioning in man as well. In a first step, the 3-methyl-branched chain fatty acid is activated by an acyl-CoA synthetase. This reaction requires CoA, ATP and Mg2+. Subsequently, the acyl-CoA ester is hydroxylated at position 2 by a peroxisomal dioxygenase. This step is dependent on alpha-oxoglutarate, ascorbate (or glutathione), Fe2+ and O2. The 2-hydroxy-3-methylacyl-CoA intermediate is cleaved by a peroxisomal lyase to formyl-CoA and a 2-methyl-branched fatty aldehyde. Formyl-CoA is (partly enzymically) hydrolyzed to formate, which is then converted, most likely in the cytosol, to CO2. In the presence of NAD+, the aldehyde is dehydrogenated to a 2-methyl-branched fatty acid, presumably by a peroxisomal aldehyde dehydrogenase. This acid can--after activation--be degraded via a D-specific peroxisomal beta-oxidation system.