From synthesis to utilization: The ins and outs of mitochondrial heme

Samantha A. Swenson, Courtney M. Moore, Jason R. Marcero, Amy E. Medlock, Amit R. Reddi, Oleh Khalimonchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Heme is a ubiquitous and essential iron containing metallo-organic cofactor required for virtually all aerobic life. Heme synthesis is initiated and completed in mitochondria, followed by certain covalent modifications and/or its delivery to apo-hemoproteins residing throughout the cell. While the biochemical aspects of heme biosynthetic reactions are well understood, the trafficking of newly synthesized heme—a highly reactive and inherently toxic compound—and its subsequent delivery to target proteins remain far from clear. In this review, we summarize current knowledge about heme biosynthesis and trafficking within and outside of the mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number579
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Heme
  • Heme biosynthesis
  • Hemoproteins
  • Membrane transporters
  • Mitochondria
  • Porphyrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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