The sulfonated osmolyte N-methyltaurine is dissimilated by Alcaligenes faecalis and by Paracoccus versutus with release of methylamine

Microbiology (Reading). 2006 Apr;152(Pt 4):1179-1186. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.28622-0.


Selective enrichments yielded bacterial cultures able to utilize the osmolyte N-methyltaurine as sole source of carbon and energy or as sole source of fixed nitrogen for aerobic growth. Strain MT1, which degraded N-methyltaurine as a sole source of carbon concomitantly with growth, was identified as a strain of Alcaligenes faecalis. Stoichiometric amounts of methylamine, whose identity was confirmed by matrix-assisted, laser-desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and of sulfate were released during growth. Inducible N-methyltaurine dehydrogenase, sulfoacetaldehyde acetyltransferase (Xsc) and a sulfite dehydrogenase could be detected. Taurine dehydrogenase was also present and it was hypothesized that taurine dehydrogenase has a substrate range that includes N-methyltaurine. Partial sequences of a tauY-like gene (encoding the putative large component of taurine dehydrogenase) and an xsc gene were obtained by PCR with degenerate primers. Strain N-MT utilized N-methyltaurine as a sole source of fixed nitrogen for growth and could also utilize the compound as sole source of carbon. This bacterium was identified as a strain of Paracoccus versutus. This organism also expressed inducible (N-methyl)taurine dehydrogenase, Xsc and a sulfite dehydrogenase. The presence of a gene cluster with high identity to a larger cluster from Paracoccus pantotrophus NKNCYSA, which is now known to dissimilate N-methyltaurine via Xsc, allowed most of the overall pathway, including transport and excretion, to be defined. N-Methyltaurine is thus another compound whose catabolism is channelled directly through sulfoacetaldehyde.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / analysis
  • Alcaligenes faecalis / classification
  • Alcaligenes faecalis / growth & development
  • Alcaligenes faecalis / isolation & purification
  • Alcaligenes faecalis / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Methylamines / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Oxidoreductases / analysis
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors / analysis
  • Paracoccus / classification
  • Paracoccus / growth & development
  • Paracoccus / isolation & purification
  • Paracoccus / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sewage / microbiology
  • Sulfite Dehydrogenase / analysis
  • Taurine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Taurine / metabolism*
  • Water Microbiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Methylamines
  • Sewage
  • Taurine
  • Carbon
  • methylamine
  • Oxidoreductases
  • taurine dehydrogenase
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-NH Group Donors
  • Sulfite Dehydrogenase
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Nitrogen

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AM048879
  • GENBANK/AM048880
  • GENBANK/AM048881
  • GENBANK/AM048882
  • GENBANK/AM087667
  • GENBANK/AM087668