The biosynthesis of vitamin B12 is summarized, emphasizing the differences observed between the aerobic and anaerobic pathways. The biosynthetic route to adenosylcobalamin from its five-carbon precursor, 5-aminolaevulinic acid, can be divided into three sections: (1) the biosynthesis of uroporphyrinogen III from 5-aminolaevulinic acid, which is common to both pathways; (2) the conversion of uroporphyrinogen III into the ring-contracted, deacylated intermediate precorrin 6 or cobalt-precorrin 6, which includes the primary differences between the two pathways; and (3) the transformation of this intermediate to form adenosylcobalamin.

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