PerspectivePlant Science

Dynamic Metabolons

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Science  03 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6009, pp. 1328-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194971

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The metabolic activities of higher organisms are highly coordinated. At the cellular level, compartmentalization into organelles and substructures thereof optimizes the concentration of substrates targeted by enzymes. At the molecular level, further substrate concentration is gained by the formation of multienzyme complexes—so-called metabolons. The protein constituents of a metabolon are held together by noncovalent interactions and often stabilized by membrane anchoring. A metabolon allows the direct passage of a product from one enzymatic reaction to a consecutive enzyme in a metabolic pathway. Such channeling of intermediates limits their diffusion into the surrounding milieu, maintains separate pools of intermediates, facilitates fast turnover of labile or toxic intermediates, and may prevent undesired crosstalk between different metabolic pathways (1, 2).