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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol. 80, No. 20, 2014, Pages: 6403-6412

Discovery of Multiple Modified F430 Coenzymes in Methanogens and Anaerobic Methanotrophic Archaea Suggests Possible New Roles for F430 in Nature

Kylie D. Allen, Gunter Wegener and Robert H. White

Department of Biochemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.


Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is generated and consumed in anaerobic environments through the energy metabolism of methanogens and anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME), respectively. Coenzyme F430 is essential for methanogenesis, and a structural variant of F430, 172-methylthio-F430 (F430-2), is found in ANME and is presumably essential for the anaerobic oxidation of methane. Here we use liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry to identify several new structural variants of F430 in the cell extracts of selected methanogens and ANME. Methanocaldococcus jannaschii and Methanococcus maripaludis contain an F430 variant (denoted F430-3) that has an M+ of 1,009.2781. This mass increase of 103.9913 over that of F430 corresponds to C3H4O2S and is consistent with the addition of a 3-mercaptopropionate moiety bound as a thioether followed by a cyclization. The UV absorbance spectrum of F430-3 was different from that of F430 and instead matched that of an F430 derivative where the 173 keto moiety had been reduced. This is the first report of a modified F430 in methanogens. In a search for F430-2 and F430-3 in other methanogens and ANME, we have identified a total of nine modified F430 structures. One of these compounds may be an abiotic oxidative product of F430, but the others represent naturally modified versions of F430. This work indicates that F430-related molecules have additional functions in nature and will inspire further research to determine the biochemical role(s) of these variants and the pathways involved in their biosynthesis.


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