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Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 185250, 7 pages
Research Article

Genetic Confirmation of the Role of Sulfopyruvate Decarboxylase in Coenzyme M Biosynthesis in Methanococcus maripaludis

Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, 541 Biological Science Building, Athens, GA 30602-2605, USA

Received 22 May 2013; Accepted 8 August 2013

Academic Editor: Stefan Spring

Copyright © 2013 Felipe Sarmiento et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Coenzyme M is an essential coenzyme for methanogenesis. The proposed biosynthetic pathway consists of five steps, of which the fourth step is catalyzed by sulfopyruvate decarboxylase (ComDE). Disruption of the gene comE by transposon mutagenesis resulted in a partial coenzyme M auxotroph, which grew poorly in the absence of coenzyme M and retained less than 3% of the wild type level of coenzyme M biosynthesis. Upon coenzyme M addition, normal growth of the mutant was restored. Moreover, complementation of the mutation with the wild type comE gene in trans restored full growth in the absence of coenzyme M. These results confirm that ComE plays an important role in coenzyme M biosynthesis. The inability to yield a complete CoM auxotroph suggests that either the transposon insertion failed to completely inactivate the gene or M. maripaludis possesses a promiscuous activity that partially complemented the mutation.