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2.  Acetate Activation in Methanosaeta thermophila: Characterization of the Key Enzymes Pyrophosphatase and Acetyl-CoA Synthetase 
Archaea  2012;2012:315153.
The thermophilic methanogen Methanosaeta thermophila uses acetate as sole substrate for methanogenesis. It was proposed that the acetate activation reaction that is needed to feed acetate into the methanogenic pathway requires the hydrolysis of two ATP, whereas the acetate activation reaction in Methanosarcina sp. is known to require only one ATP. As these organisms live at the thermodynamic limit that sustains life, the acetate activation reaction in Mt. thermophila seems too costly and was thus reevaluated. It was found that of the putative acetate activation enzymes one gene encoding an AMP-forming acetyl-CoA synthetase was highly expressed. The corresponding enzyme was purified and characterized in detail. It catalyzed the ATP-dependent formation of acetyl-CoA, AMP, and pyrophosphate (PPi) and was only moderately inhibited by PPi. The breakdown of PPi was performed by a soluble pyrophosphatase. This enzyme was also purified and characterized. The pyrophosphatase hydrolyzed the major part of PPi (KM = 0.27 ± 0.05 mM) that was produced in the acetate activation reaction. Activity was not inhibited by nucleotides or PPi. However, it cannot be excluded that other PPi-dependent enzymes take advantage of the remaining PPi and contribute to the energy balance of the cell.
PMCID: PMC3426162  PMID: 22927778
3.  A Novel Inducible Protein Production System and Neomycin Resistance as Selection Marker for Methanosarcina mazei 
Archaea  2012;2012:973743.
Methanosarcina mazei is one of the model organisms for the methanogenic order Methanosarcinales whose metabolism has been studied in detail. However, the genetic toolbox is still limited. This study was aimed at widening the scope of utilizable methods in this group of organisms. (i) Proteins specific to methanogens are oftentimes difficult to produce in E. coli. However, a protein production system is not available for methanogens. Here we present an inducible system to produce Strep-tagged proteins in Ms. mazei. The promoter p1687, which directs the transcription of methyl transferases that demethylate methylamines, was cloned into plasmid pWM321 and its activity was determined by monitoring β-glucuronidase production. The promoter was inactive during growth on methanol but was rapidly activated when trimethylamine was added to the medium. The gene encoding the β-glucuronidase from E. coli was fused to a Strep-tag and was cloned downstream of the p1687 promoter. The protein was overproduced in Ms. mazei and was purified in an active form by affinity chromatography. (ii) Puromycin is currently the only antibiotic used as a selectable marker in Ms. mazei and its relatives. We established neomycin resistance as a second selectable marker by designing a plasmid that confers neomycin resistance in Ms. mazei.
PMCID: PMC3407599  PMID: 22851906
4.  Membrane-Bound Electron Transport in Methanosaeta thermophila▿ 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(11):2868-2870.
The obligate aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaeta thermophila uses a membrane-bound ferredoxin:heterodisulfide oxidoreductase system for energy conservation. We propose that the system is composed of a truncated form of the F420H2 dehydrogenase, methanophenazine, and the heterodisulfide reductase. Hence, the electron transport chain is distinct from those of well-studied Methanosarcina species.
PMCID: PMC3133127  PMID: 21478356
5.  Function of Ech Hydrogenase in Ferredoxin-Dependent, Membrane-Bound Electron Transport in Methanosarcina mazei▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;192(3):674-678.
Reduced ferredoxin is an intermediate in the methylotrophic and aceticlastic pathway of methanogenesis and donates electrons to membrane-integral proteins, which transfer electrons to the heterodisulfide reductase. A ferredoxin interaction has been observed previously for the Ech hydrogenase. Here we present a detailed analysis of a Methanosarcina mazei Δech mutant which shows decreased ferredoxin-dependent membrane-bound electron transport activity, a lower growth rate, and faster substrate consumption. Evidence is presented that a second protein whose identity is unknown oxidizes reduced ferredoxin, indicating an involvement in methanogenesis from methylated C1 compounds.
PMCID: PMC2812462  PMID: 19948802
6.  Transcriptional Profiling of Methyltransferase Genes during Growth of Methanosarcina mazei on Trimethylamine▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(16):5108-5115.
The genomic expression patterns of Methanosarcina mazei growing with trimethylamine were measured in comparison to those of cells grown with methanol. We identified a total of 72 genes with either an increased level (49 genes) or a decreased level (23 genes) of mRNA during growth on trimethylamine with methanol-grown cells as the control. Major differences in transcript levels were observed for the mta, mtb, mtt, and mtm genes, which encode enzymes involved in methane formation from methanol and trimethylamine, respectively. Other differences in mRNA abundance were found for genes encoding enzymes involved in isopentenyl pyrophosphate synthesis and in the formation of aromatic amino acids, as well as a number of proteins with unknown functions. The results were verified by in-depth analysis of methyltransferase genes using specific primers for real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The monitored transcript levels of genes encoding corrinoid proteins involved in methyl group transfer from methylated C1 compounds (mtaC, mtbC, mttC, and mtmC) indicated increased amounts of mRNA from the mtaBC1, mtaBC2, and mtaBC3 operons in methanol-grown cells, whereas mRNA of the mtb1-mtt1 operon was found in high concentrations during trimethylamine consumption. The genes of the mtb1-mtt1 operon encode methyltransferases that are responsible for sequential demethylation of trimethylamine. The analysis of product formation of trimethylamine-grown cells at different optical densities revealed that large amounts of dimethylamine and monomethylamine were excreted into the medium. The intermediate compounds were consumed only in the very late exponential growth phase. RT-PCR analysis of key genes involved in methanogenesis led to the conclusion that M. mazei is able to adapt to changing trimethylamine concentrations and the consumption of intermediate compounds. Hence, we assume that the organism possesses a regulatory network for optimal substrate utilization.
PMCID: PMC2725588  PMID: 19525341
7.  Identification and analysis of proton-translocating pyrophosphatases in the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei  
Archaea  2001;1(1):1-7.
Analysis of genome sequence data from the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei Gö1 revealed the existence of two open reading frames encoding proton-translocating pyrophosphatases (PPases). These open reading frames are linked by a 750-bp intergenic region containing TC-rich stretches and are transcribed in opposite directions. The corresponding polypeptides are referred to as Mvp1 and Mvp2 and consist of 671 and 676 amino acids, respectively. Both enzymes represent extremely hydrophobic, integral membrane proteins with 15 predicted transmembrane segments and an overall amino acid sequence similarity of 50.1%. Multiple sequence alignments revealed that Mvp1 is closely related to eukaryotic PPases, whereas Mvp2 shows highest homologies to bacterial PPases. Northern blot experiments with RNA from methanol-grown cells harvested in the mid-log growth phase indicated that only Mvp2 was produced under these conditions. Analysis of washed membranes showed that Mvp2 had a specific activity of 0.34 U mg (protein)–1. Proton translocation experiments with inverted membrane vesicles prepared from methanol-grown cells showed that hydrolysis of 1 mol of pyrophosphate was coupled to the translocation of about 1 mol of protons across the cytoplasmic membrane. Appropriate conditions for mvp1 expression could not be determined yet. The pyrophosphatases of M. mazei Gö1 represent the first examples of this enzyme class in methanogenic archaea and may be part of their energy-conserving system. Abbreviations: DCCD, N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide; PPase, inorganic pyrophosphatase; PPi, inorganic pyrophosphate; Δp, proton motive force.
PMCID: PMC2685546  PMID: 15803653
energy conservation; inorganic pyrophosphate; methanogenesis; proton pump; pyrophosphatase
8.  Energy Conservation by the H2:Heterodisulfide Oxidoreductase from Methanosarcina mazei Gö1: Identification of Two Proton-Translocating Segments 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(13):4076-4080.
The membrane-bound H2:heterodisulfide oxidoreductase system of the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei Gö1 catalyzed the H2-dependent reduction of 2-hydroxyphenazine and the dihydro-2-hydroxyphenazine-dependent reduction of the heterodisulfide of HS-CoM and HS-CoB (CoM-S-S-CoB). Washed inverted vesicles of this organism were found to couple both processes with the transfer of protons across the cytoplasmic membrane. The maximal H+/2e− ratio was 0.9 for each reaction. The electrochemical proton gradient (ΔμH+) thereby generated was shown to drive ATP synthesis from ADP plus Pi, exhibiting stoichiometries of 0.25 ATP synthesized per two electrons transported for both partial reactions. ATP synthesis and the generation of ΔμH+ were abolished by the uncoupler 3,5-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroxybenzylidenemalononitrile (SF 6847). The ATP synthase inhibitor N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide did not affect H+ translocation but led to an almost complete inhibition of ATP synthesis and decreased the electron transport rates. The latter effect was relieved by the addition of SF 6847. Thus, the energy-conserving systems showed a stringent coupling which resembles the phenomenon of respiratory control. The results indicate that two different proton-translocating segments are present in the H2:heterodisulfide oxidoreductase system; the first involves the 2-hydroxyphenazine-dependent hydrogenase, and the second involves the heterodisulfide reductase.
PMCID: PMC93899  PMID: 10383977
9.  Isolation and Characterization of Methanophenazine and Function of Phenazines in Membrane-Bound Electron Transport of Methanosarcina mazei Gö1 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(8):2027-2032.
A hydrophobic, redox-active component with a molecular mass of 538 Da was isolated from lyophilized membranes of Methanosarcina mazei Gö1 by extraction with isooctane. After purification on a high-performance liquid chromatography column, the chemical structure was analyzed by mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance studies. The component was called methanophenazine and represents a 2-hydroxyphenazine derivative which is connected via an ether bridge to a polyisoprenoid side chain. Since methanophenazine was almost insoluble in aqueous buffers, water-soluble phenazine derivatives were tested for their ability to interact with membrane-bound enzymes involved in electron transport and energy conservation. The purified F420H2 dehydrogenase from M. mazei Gö1 showed highest activity with 2-hydroxyphenazine and 2-bromophenazine as electron acceptors when F420H2 was added. Phenazine-1-carboxylic acid and phenazine proved to be less effective. The Km values for 2-hydroxyphenazine and phenazine were 35 and 250 μM, respectively. 2-Hydroxyphenazine was also reduced by molecular hydrogen catalyzed by an F420-nonreactive hydrogenase which is present in washed membrane preparations. Furthermore, the membrane-bound heterodisulfide reductase was able to use reduced 2-hydroxyphenazine as an electron donor for the reduction of CoB-S-S-CoM. Considering all these results, it is reasonable to assume that methanophenazine plays an important role in vivo in membrane-bound electron transport of M. mazei Gö1.
PMCID: PMC107126  PMID: 9555882

Results 1-9 (9)