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11: One-Carbon Metabolism Micronutrients

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  • Three B vitamins are involved in what is known as 1-carbon metabolism. This is the movement of 1 carbon units, generally methyl groups (\(\ce{CH3}\)). It is similar to the movement of the amino group that occurs in transamination. As shown in the figure below, folate, vitamin \(B_{12}\), and vitamin \(B_6\) are the B vitamins involved in 1-carbon metabolism.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): One-carbon metabolism depiction. 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (\(\ce{THF}\)) donates a methyl group to cobalamin forming methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin donates a methyl group to homocysteine, forming methionine (an amino acid). Alternatively, vitamin \(B_6\) can be utilized to convert homocysteine into cysteine.

    Vitamin \(B_6\) has been described in the previous chapter, so this chapter is going to focus on folate and vitamin \(B_{12}\). We will examine this figure in pieces, so that hopefully by the time this chapter is completed, you will understand the role of all these vitamins in 1-carbon metabolism.

    ADAPT \(\PageIndex{1}\)

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