Articles to be published in the May 4, 2007 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (Vol. 282, No. 18)
Cholesterol Metabolism Without Oxygen
This article was featured as a Paper of the Week by the Journal of Biological Chemistrys Editors, meaning that it belongs to the top one percent of papers reviewed in significance and overall importance.
Researchers report the first details of how cholesterol is metabolized without oxygen.
Cholesterol, a precursor to steroid hormones and a constituent of cell membranes, is usually broken down inside an organism in the presence of oxygen. The chemical reactions involved are well-known and have been used in industry to manufacture synthetic sexual hormones and dietary supplements. Cholesterol can also be broken down without oxygen, but very little is known about the chemical mechanisms at work.
Georg Fuchs and colleagues report the first study of these mechanisms. They used a bacterium called Sterolibacterium denitrificans and carefully looked at how cholesterol was broken down in this organism. The results, which revealed new compounds not previously seen in reactions involving oxygen, could be used to produce new pharmaceuticals for cholesterol-related diseases.
Article: Initial steps in the anoxic metabolism of cholesterol by the denitrifying Sterolibacterium denitrificans by Yin-Ru Chiang, Wael Ismail, Michael Muller, and Georg Fuchs
MEDIA CONTACT: Georg Fuchs, Mikrobiologie, Fakultat fur Biologie, Universitat Freiburg, Germany; tel: +49-7612032649; e-mail:
Contact: Pat Pages
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology