Wood–Ljungdahl pathway

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The reductive acetyl–CoA pathway

The Wood–Ljungdahl pathway is a set of biochemical reactions used by some bacteria and archaea. It is also known as the reductive acetyl–CoA pathway.[1] This pathway enables certain organisms to use hydrogen as an electron donor and carbon dioxide as an electron acceptor as well as a building block for biosynthesis.

In this pathway carbon dioxide is reduced to carbon monoxide, which is then converted to acetyl coenzyme A. Two enzymes participate, CO Dehydrogenase and acetyl-CoA synthase. The former catalyzes the reduction of the CO2 and the latter combines the resulting CO with a methyl group to give acetyl CoA.[1][2]

The pathway occurs in bacteria and archaea, e.g. methanogens[3] and in acetate-producing bacteria such as Clostridium. Unlike the Reverse Krebs cycle and the Calvin cycle, this process is not cyclic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stephen W. Ragsdale "Metals and Their Scaffolds To Promote Difficult Enzymatic Reactions" Chem. Rev. 2006, 106, 3317–3337. doi:10.1021/cr0503153
  2. ^ Paul A. Lindahl "Nickel-Carbon Bonds in Acetyl-Coenzyme A Synthases/Carbon Monoxide Dehydrogenases" Met. Ions Life Sci. 2009, volume 6, pp. 133–150. doi:10.1039/9781847559159-00133
  3. ^ Matschiavelli, N.; Oelgeschlager, E.; Cocchiararo, B.; Finke, J.; Rother, M. (2012). "Function and regulation of isoforms of carbon monoxide dehydrogenase/acetyl-CoA synthase in Methanosarcina acetivorans". Journal of Bacteriology 194 (19): 5377–87. doi:10.1128/JB.00881-12. PMID 22865842.  edit

Other reading[edit]

  • Wood HG (February 1991). "Life with CO or CO2 and H2 as a source of carbon and energy". FASEB J. 5 (2): 156–63. PMID 1900793. 
  • Diekert G, Wohlfarth G (1994). "Metabolism of homoacetogens". Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 66 (1–3): 209–21. doi:10.1007/BF00871640. PMID 7747932.