Journal of bacteriology

Methylthiol:coenzyme M methyltransferase from Methanosarcina barkeri, an enzyme of methanogenesis from dimethylsulfide and methylmercaptopropionate.

PMID 9371433


During growth on acetate, Methanosarcina barkeri expresses catabolic enzymes for other methanogenic substrates such as monomethylamine. The range of substrates used by cells grown on acetate was further explored, and it was found that cells grown on acetate also converted dimethylsulfide (DMS) and methylmercaptopropionate (MMPA) to methane. Cells or extracts of cells grown on trimethylamine or methanol did not utilize either DMS or MMPA. During growth on acetate, cultures demethylated MMPA, producing methane and mercaptopropionate. Extracts of acetate-grown cells possessed DMS- and MMPA-dependent coenzyme M (CoM) methylation activities. The activity peaks of CoM methylation with either DMS or MMPA coeluted upon gel permeation chromatography of extracts of acetate-grown cells consistent with an apparent molecular mass of 470 kDa. A 480-kDa corrinoid protein, previously demonstrated to be a CoM methylase but otherwise of unknown physiological function, was found to methylate CoM with either DMS or MMPA. MMPA was demethylated by the purified 480-kDa CoM methylase, consuming 1 mol of CoM and producing 1 mol of mercaptopropionate. DMS was demethylated by the purified protein, consuming 1 mol of CoM and producing 1 mol of methanethiol. The methylthiol:CoM methyltransferase reaction could be initiated only with the enzyme-bound corrinoid in the methylated state. CoM could demethylate, and DMS and MMPA could remethylate, the corrinoid cofactor. The monomethylamine corrinoid protein and the A isozyme of methylcobamide:CoM methyltransferase (proteins homologous to the two subunits comprising the 480-kDa CoM methylase) did not catalyze CoM methylation with methylated thiols. These results indicate that the 480-kDa corrinoid protein functions as a CoM methylase during methanogenesis from DMS or MMPA.

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