An obligatory intermedia is a compound which follows the intermedia in the synthesis process of the alkaloid and metabolism pathway. The synthesis of this, generally not stable compound, is obligatory or alternative for alkaloid formation. In the case of non-protein and protein amino acids as precursors of alkaloids, the obligatory intermedia is derived, in most instances, from biogenic amine (intermedia) by SAM-dependent N-methylation (e.g., the conversion from putrescine to N-methylputrescine in the hygrine pathway), enzyme NAD+ in the conversion of putrescine to imine in the homospermidine pathway or enzyme DAO in the conversion of cadaverine to A^piperideine in the quinolizidine alkaloids pathway. In the case of non-amino acid precursors, the conversion from intermedia to obligatory intermedia occurs by a coupling reaction, for example from piperidine to protoverine in the jervine pathway, or from IMP to XMP in purine alkaloids.
The basic characteristic of obligatory intermedia synthesis is that there cannot be an alkaloid between intermedia and obligatory intermedia, but in some cases the obligatory intermedia can be obligatory alkaloid needed for synthesis of other alkaloids, for example protoverine in the jervine pathway. In these cases, the obligatory intermedia has biological activity as, for example, with protoverine. After the obligatory intermedia, the alkaloid can be synthesized or the obligatory intermedia converts to the second obligatory intermedia.
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