Intracellular trafficking of the pyridoxal cofactor. Implications for health and metabolic disease

James W. Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The importance of the vitamin B6-derived pyridoxal cofactor for human health has been established through more than 70 years of intensive biochemical research, revealing its fundamental roles in metabolism. B6 deficiency, resulting from nutritional limitation or impaired uptake from dietary sources, is associated with epilepsy, neuromuscular disease and neurodegeneration. Hereditary disorders of B6 processing are also known, and genetic defects in pathways involved in transport of B6 into the cell and its transformation to the pyridoxal-5'-phosphate enzyme cofactor can contribute to cardiovascular disease by interfering with homocysteine metabolism and the biosynthesis of vasomodulatory polyamines. Compared to the processes involved in cellular uptake and processing of the B6 vitamers, trafficking of the PLP cofactor across intracellular membranes is very poorly understood, even though the availability of PLP within subcellular compartments (particularly the mitochondrion) may have important health implications. The aim of this review is to concisely summarize the state of current knowledge of intracellular trafficking of PLP and to identify key directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
StatePublished - Feb 15 2016


  • Cofactor trafficking
  • Heme biosynthesis
  • Iron homeostasis
  • Mitochondria
  • Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate
  • Vitamin B6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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