Function of the mammalian translocator protein (TSPO; previously known as the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor) remains unclear because its presumed role in steroidogenesis and mitochondrial permeability transition established using pharmacological methods has been refuted in recent genetic studies. Protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) is considered a conserved endogenous ligand for TSPO. In bacteria, TSPO was identified to regulate tetrapyrrole metabolism and chemical catalysis of PPIX in the presence of light, and in vertebrates, TSPO function has been linked to porphyrin transport and heme biosynthesis. Positive correlation between high TSPO expression in cancer cells and susceptibility to photodynamic therapy based on their increased ability to convert the precursor 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) to PPIX appeared to reinforce this mechanism. In this study, we used TSPO knock-out (Tspo(-/-)) mice, primary cells, and different tumor cell lines to examine the role of TSPO in erythropoiesis, heme levels, PPIX biosynthesis, phototoxic cell death, and mitochondrial bioenergetic homeostasis. In contrast to expectations, our results demonstrate that TSPO deficiency does not adversely affect erythropoiesis, heme biosynthesis, bioconversion of ALA to PPIX, and porphyrin-mediated phototoxic cell death. TSPO expression levels in cancer cells do not correlate with their ability to convert ALA to PPIX. In fibroblasts, we observed that TSPO deficiency decreased the oxygen consumption rate and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) indicative of a cellular metabolic shift, without a negative impact on porphyrin biosynthetic capability. Based on these findings, we conclude that mammalian TSPO does not have a critical physiological function related to PPIX and heme biosynthesis.