Navigation Links
How Archaea might find their food
Date:6/10/2013

The microorganism Methanosarcina acetivorans lives off everything it can metabolize into methane. How it finds its sources of energy, is not yet clear. Scientists at the Ruhr-Universitt Bochum together with colleagues from Dresden, Frankfurt, Muelheim and the USA have identified a protein that might act as a "food sensor". They characterized the molecule in detail and found both similarities and differences to the system that is responsible for the search for food in bacteria. The team reports in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

MsmS has a different function to that thought

The protein MsmS has so far only been studied from a bioinformatics point of view. Computer of its gene sequence had predicted that it might be a phytochrome, i.e. a red light sensor. Using spectroscopic methods, the research team of the current study have refuted this theory. MsmS has a heme cofactor, like haemoglobin in red blood cells, and can, among other things, bind the substance dimethyl sulphide. This is one of the energy sources of Methanosarcina acetivorans. MsmS might thus serve the microorganism as a sensor to directly or indirectly detect this energy source. In genetic studies, the scientists also found evidence that MsmS regulates systems which are important for the exploitation of dimethyl sulphide.

Archaea: flexible "eaters"

Methanosarcina acetivorans belongs to the Archaea which constitute the third domain of life, alongside Bacteria and Eukarya; the term Eukarya comprising all living organisms with a cell nucleus. Many of them are adapted to extreme conditions or are able to use unusual energy sources. Among the organisms that live from methane production, the so-called methanogenic organisms, M. acetivorans is one of the most flexible when it comes to the choice of food sources. It converts many different molecules into methane, and thus produces energy. How M. acetivorans detects the different food sources, is still largely unknown.

In Archaea, unlike bacteria

For this purpose, bacteria use the so-called two-component system: when a sensor protein comes in contact with the food source, the protein modifies itself; it attaches a phosphate group to a certain amino acid residue, the histidine. The phosphate group is then transferred to a second protein. In methanogenic organisms such a process could trigger cellular processes that activate the methane production. Archaea might also use comparable sensor proteins in a way similar to bacteria. MsmS would be a candidate for such a task, because the analyses of the research team showed that it is able to transfer a phosphate residue to an amino acid. The target site of this phosphorylation is, however, probably 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 Physiology of Microorganisms. "It is also interesting that the heme cofactor is covalently bound, i.e. linked with the protein by an electron-pair bond. This is very uncommon for sensor proteins which are present in the cell fluid."


'/>"/>
Contact: Dr. Nicole Frankenberg-Dinkel
nicole.frankenberg@rub.de
49-234-322-3101
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Revealing the secrets of motility in archaea
2. Nearly half of veterans found with blast concussions might have hormone deficiencies
3. Short daily walk might help teen smokers cut down or quit, new study says
4. Single gene might explain dramatic differences among people with schizophrenia
5. Natures phenomena might teach Virginia Tech engineers new tricks
6. Newly discovered scarecrow gene might trigger big boost in food production
7. A drug used to treat HIV might defuse deadly staph infections
8. Eat dessert first? It might help you control your diet
9. Vitamin C and beta-carotene might protect against dementia
10. Dinosaur die-out might have been second of 2 closely timed extinctions
11. Brain-wave-reading robot might help stroke patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/17/2016)... -- AIC announces that it has just released a new white paper authored by Zettar ... high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161116/440463 ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing or HPC system can be ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... SANTA CLARA, Calif. , Nov. 14, ... of the biometric identification market, Frost & ... Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Visionary ... leading player in the biometric identification market ... a multi-modal verification solution for instant, seamless, ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... VANCOUVER, British Columbia , June 21, 2016 ... been appointed to the new role of principal ... has been named the director of customer development. ... , NuData,s chief technical officer. The moves reflect ... development teams in response to high customer demand ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... -- This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Biostimulants in ... & Fulvic), Extract Based, and Others. The report also analyzes ... Turf, Row Crops, and Others. The report provides separate comprehensive ... Japan , Europe , ... and Rest of World. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided ...
(Date:12/8/2016)...  Biotheranostics today announced that new data will ... Cancer Index (BCI) in identifying which patients with ... for disease recurrence and might benefit from extended ... advancing the understanding of the value of BCI ... inform decisions related to patient treatment. These data ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... OXFORD, England , December 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... (OGT), das Unternehmen für Molekulargenetik, erweitert seine Palette ... SureSeq myPanel™ NGS Custom FH Panels, das ein ... Hypercholesterinämie (FH) ermöglicht. Das Panel bietet eine Erkennung ... Number Variations (CNV) mit einem einzigen kleinen Panel ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... in the World Technology Awards. uBiome is one of just six company finalists ... categories. , In addition to uBiome, companies nominated as finalists in this year’s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: