Ascorbic acid synthesis

Mike Syvanen syvanen at
Mon Jun 7 16:12:18 EST 1999

R DiSilvestro wrote:

> I once before asked this newsgroup about ascorbic acid (vitamin C)synthesis.
> Now, I have another question about this subject.  Recently, it has been
> shown that plants and animals use two very different pathways to make this
> molecule.  Is there any evolutionary logic to that?  If animals just needed
> a reducing agent, another might have worked just as well.  One could reason
> that this particular reducing agent had some binding properties to existing
> enzymes.  However, in that case, why lose one pathway to make another?

There are two different biosynthetic  pathways for the synthesis of lysine as
This suggests that lysine utilitilization in proteins evolved in two different
before fixation of the universal genetic code.  The case with ascorbic acid just

suggests that it evolved after the plant/ animal bifurcation.

Mike Syvanen

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