2004 年 44 巻 2 号 p. 81-86
Plant heme oxygenase (HO), which catalyzes conversion of heme to biliverdin, being further converted to photo-receptive phycobilins, had been known only in the cell extracts of primitive red algae and cyanobacteria for these twenty years. Recent development of gene analysis, however, has shown that HO is ubiquitously contained in variety of living species. We have succeeded for the first time in obtaining recombinant HO protein of cyanobacteria and in characterizing the HO protein and its heme complex by spectroscopic analyses. Here, we review the existence, role, and characteristics of cyanobacterial and plant HOs in comparison with those of mammalian and bacterial HOs.