The entry of methanol into the methylotrophic pathway of methanogenesis is mediated by the concerted effort of two methyltransferases, namely, methyltransferase 1 (MT1) and methyltransferase 2 (MT2). The mtaA1, mtaA2, and mtbA genes of Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A encode putative methanol- or methylamine-specific MT2 enzymes. To address the in vivo roles of these genes in growth and methanogenesis from known substrates, we constructed and characterized mutants with deletions of each of these genes. The mtaA1 gene is required for growth on methanol, whereas mtaA2 was dispensable. However, the mtaA2 mutant had a reduced rate of methane production from methanol. Surprisingly, deletion of mtaA1 in combination with deletions of the genes encoding three methanol-specific MT1 isozymes led to lack of growth on acetate, suggesting that MT1 and MT2 enzymes might play an important role during growth on this substrate. The mtbA gene was required for dimethylamine and monomethylamine (MMA) utilization and was important, but not required, for trimethylamine utilization. Analysis of reporter gene fusions revealed that both mtaA1 and mtbA were expressed on all methanogenic substrates tested. However, mtaA1 expression was induced on methanol, while mtbA expression was down-regulated on MMA and acetate. mtaA2 was expressed at very low levels on all substrates. The mtaA1 transcript had a large 5′ untranslated region (UTR) (275 bp), while the 5′ UTR of the mtbA transcript was only 28 bp long.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology