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Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions

Vitamin B9 (animation)

Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is an integral part of the cycle of redox reactions involving cobalt. A form of folic acid, called methyltetrahydrofolate, reacts with the cobalt +1 atom in B12 and contributes its methyl group. The methyl group moves through its cycle until it is attached to homocysteine to generate methionine. Through an additional reaction, methionine is converted to S-adenosyl methionine, a molecule that is essential for numerous reactions in the body. One includes formation and maintenance of the spinal column during development, which is why a deficiency of vitamin B9 is linked to birth defects.

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Chemistry: Challenges and Solutions

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Produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 2014.
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