Tackling Vitamin A Deficiency by Understanding the Vitamin’s Metabolism♦ [Papers of the Week]

♦ See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2013, 288, 34081–34096
Vitamin A deficiency leads to blindness in children and increases childhood morbidity. Efforts are under way to fortify foods (for example, in the form of golden rice) with vitamin A or its metabolic precursors to prevent this deficiency. Understanding how vitamin A is produced in the body is the key to effective public health interventions. In this Paper of the Week, a team led by Johannes von Lintig at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio used genetic and biochemical approaches to understand how two carotenoid oxygenases, the cytoplasmic β-carotene-15,15′-oxygenase BCO1 and the mitochondrial β-carotene-9′,10′-oxygenase BCO2, contribute to vitamin A metabolism. To date, the contribution o…

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