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De novo synthesis refers to the synthesis of complex molecules from simple molecules such as sugars or amino acids, as opposed to recycling after partial degradation. For example, nucleotides are not needed in the diet as they can be constructed from small precursor molecules such as formate and aspartate. Methionine, on the other hand, is needed in the diet because while it can be degraded to and then regenerated from homocysteine, it cannot be synthesized de novo.

De novo is a Latin phrase, literally translating to "from the new", but implying "anew", "from scratch", or "from the beginning."



De novo pathways of nucleotides do not use free bases: adenine (abbreviated as A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), thymine (T), or uracil (U). The purine ring is built up one atom or a few atoms at a time and attached to ribose throughout the process. Pyrimidine ring is synthesized as orotate and attached to ribose phosphate and later converted to common pyrimidine nucleotides.


De novo cholesterol synthesis is a pathway used by the Schwann cells to promote cell motility and viability.


De novo fatty-acid synthesis is regulated by two important enzymes, namely acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty-acid synthase. The enzyme acetyl CoA carboxylase is responsible for introducing a carboxyl group to acetyl CoA, rendering malonyl-CoA. Then, the enzyme fatty-acid synthase is responsible for turning malonlyl-CoA into fatty-acid chain. De novo fatty-acid synthesis is mainly not active in human cells, since diet is the major source for it.[1]


De novo DNA synthesis is DNA replication without the need for precursor template DNA. It's also referred to as artificial gene synthesis. Primase is an RNA polymerase, and it can add a primer to an existing strand awaiting replication. DNA polymerase cannot add primers, and therefore, needs primase to add the primer de novo.


  1. ^ Mashima T, Seimiya H, Tsuruo T (May 2009). "De novo fatty-acid synthesis and related pathways as molecular targets for cancer therapy". British Journal of Cancer. 100 (9): 1369–72. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605007. PMC 2694429. PMID 19352381.

Further readingEdit

  • Harper's Illustrated Biochemistry, 26th Ed - Robert K. Murray, Darryl K. Granner, Peter A. Mayes, Victor W. Rodwell
  • Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, Fourth Edition - David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
  • Biochemistry 5th ed - Jeremy M. Berg, John L. Tymoczko, Lubert Stryer
  • Biochemistry- Garrett.and.Grisham.2nd.ed
  • Biochemistry, 2/e by Reiginald and Charles Grisham
  • Biochemistry for dummies by John T Moore, EdD and Richard Langley, PhD
  • Stryer L (2007). Biochemistry. 6th Edition. WH Freeman and Company. New York. USA

External linksEdit