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The microorganism Methanosarcina acetivorans resides off every little thing it deserve to metabolize into methane. How it finds its resources of energy, is not yet clear. Scientists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in addition to colleagues indigenous Dresden, Frankfurt, Muelheim and the USA have figured out a protein that can act together a "food sensor". They characterized the molecule in detail and also found both similarities and differences to the mechanism that is responsible for the search for food in bacteria.
The team reports in the newspaper of organic Chemistry.

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MsmS has actually a different role to the thought

The protein MsmS has actually so much only to be studied from a bioinformatics point of view. Computer of its gene sequence had actually predicted the it can be a phytochrome, i.e. A red irradiate sensor. Using spectroscopic methods, the research team of the present study have refuted this theory. MsmS has a heme cofactor, like haemoglobin in red blood cells, and also can, among other things, bind the substance dimethyl sulphide. This is just one of the energy sources of Methanosarcina acetivorans. MsmS might thus offer the virus as a sensor to straight or indirect detect this energy source. In genetic studies, the scientists also found proof that MsmS regulates systems which are essential for the exploitation the dimethyl sulphide.

Archaea: flexible "eaters"

Methanosarcina acetivorans belongs come the Archaea i beg your pardon constitute the 3rd domain the life, together Bacteria and Eukarya; the term Eukarya making up all life organisms with a cabinet nucleus. Plenty of of lock are adjusted to extreme problems or room able to usage unusual energy sources. Amongst the organisms the live indigenous methane production, the so-called methanogenic organisms, M. Acetivorans is one of the many flexible when it involves the an option of food sources. It converts plenty of different molecules into methane, and also thus to produce energy. Exactly how M. Acetivorans detects the different food sources, is still mainly unknown.

In Archaea, unlike bacteria

For this purpose, bacteria usage the so-called two-component system: when a sensor protein comes in call with the food source, the protein modifies itself; that attaches a phosphate group to a certain amino acid residue, the histidine. The phosphate team is then moved to a 2nd protein. In methanogenic organisms such a process could cause cellular procedures that activate the methane production. Archaea might additionally use comparable sensor protein in a method similar to bacteria. MsmS would be a candidate for such a task, due to the fact that the analyses of the research study team proved that that is may be to move a phosphate residue to an amino acid. The target site of this phosphorylation is, however, most likely not histidine. "So there could be differences between the signal transduction systems of Archaea and Bacteria" speculates Prof. Dr. Nicole Frankenberg-Dinkel from the work group centregalilee.comiology of Microorganisms. "It is additionally interesting the the heme cofactor is covalently bound, i.e. Attached with the protein by one electron-pair bond. This is very uncommon for sensor proteins which are existing in the cabinet fluid."
More information:B. Molitor, M. Stassen, A. Modi, S.F. El-Mashtoly, C. Laurich, W. Lubitz, J.H. Dawson, M.

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Rother, N. Frankenberg-Dinkel (2013): A heme-based oxidization sensor in the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans, journal of organic Chemistry, doi:10.1074/jbc.M113.476267