Heme oxygenase cleaves the heme ring at the alpha methene bridge to form biliverdin. Biliverdin is subsequently converted to bilirubin by biliverdin reductase. Under physiological conditions, the activity of heme oxygenase is highest in the spleen, where senescent erythrocytes are sequestrated and destroyed. Heme oxygenase 2 could be implicated in the production of carbon monoxide in brain where it could act as a neurotransmitter.
Belongs to the heme oxygenase family. Contains 2 HRM (heme regulatory motif) repeats.