Study of the incorporation of 13C-labelled glucose or pyruvate into the isoprenoids of tobacco BY-2 cells allowed the biosynthetic origin of isopentenyl diphosphate to be determined. Sterols synthesized in the cytoplasm and the prenyl chain of ubiquinone Q10 located in mitochondria were derived from the same isopentenyl diphosphate pool, synthesized from acetyl-CoA through mevalonate, whereas the prenyl chain of plastoquinone was obtained from the mevalonate-independent glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate/pyruvate route, like all chloroplast isoprenoids from higher plants. These results are in accord with the compartmentation and complete enzymic independence of the biosynthesis of long-chain all-trans polyprenols in mitochondria and chloroplasts.

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