The photochemistry and photobiology of vitamin B12

Alex Jones

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    Biologically active derivatives of vitamin B12 are organomettalic cobalt-corrinoid complexes crucial for the healthy function of humans, animals and microbes. Their role as cofactors to numerous, thermally-driven metabolic enzymes is well described, and varies depending on the nature of the upper axial ligand. This ligand also significantly influences the photophysics and photochemistry of B12. In this Perspective I will discuss the various aspects of B12 photochemistry, from its dynamic spin chemistry to the considerable potential it has for biotechnology applications. Although for many years this photochemistry was thought to have no biological function, in recent years it has become apparent that B12 photochemistry at very least has a role in light-dependent bacterial transcriptional regulation. I will provide an overview of what has been reported about B12 photobiology to date, with particular emphasis on the mechanism of the transcriptional repressor, CarH, the subject of my Young Investigator Award Plenary Lecture at the European Society for Photobiology Congress 2015 in Aveiro, Portugal.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
    Early online date2 May 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

    • Photon Science Institute
    • Manchester Institute of Biotechnology


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