Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Heme is essential and synthesized via highly regulated processes. For this reason, most organisms strive to recycle it or acquire it from their environment. When heme is bound to proteins noncovalently, degradation of the polypeptide is sufficient to release it. However, in some hemoproteins, such as c-type cytochromes, heme is covalently bound to the protein backbone. We use the heme auxotroph Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate if cytochromes c can be a heme source, and we show that this organism must encode a novel system which specifically cleaves the thioether bonds of c-type cytochromes. We also find that at limiting heme concentrations, while somatic tissues develop normally the germline fails to proliferate, suggesting the presence of a heme-sensing checkpoint in C. elegans.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





928 - 938


Caenorhabditis elegans , cytochrome c, heme, heme recycling, heme source, thioether bond