Catalyzes an early step in the biosynthesis of tetrapyrroles. Binds two molecules of 5-aminolevulinate per subunit, each at a distinct site, and catalyzes their condensation to form porphobilinogen.
Porphyrin metabolism; protoporphyrin-IX biosynthesis; coproporphyrinogen-III from 5-aminolevulinate: step 1/4.
Defects in ALAD are the cause of acute hepatic porphyria (AHP) [MIM:612740]. AHP is a form of porphyria. Porphyrias are inherited defects in the biosynthesis of heme, resulting in the accumulation and increased excretion of porphyrins or porphyrin precursors. They are classified as erythropoietic or hepatic, depending on whether the enzyme deficiency occurs in red blood cells or in the liver. AHP is characterized by attacks of gastrointestinal disturbances, abdominal colic, paralysis, and peripheral neuropathy. Most attacks are precipitated by drugs, alcohol, caloric deprivation, infections, or endocrine factors.