Methylglyoxal is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of 6-deoxy-5-ketofructose-1-phosphate: a precursor for aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii

Biochemistry. 2006 Oct 10;45(40):12366-79. doi: 10.1021/bi061018a.


A biosynthetic pathway is proposed for creating 6-deoxy-5-ketofructose-1-phosphate (DKFP), a precursor sugar for aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii. First, two possible routes were investigated to determine if a modified, established biosynthetic pathway could be responsible for generating 6-deoxyhexoses in M. jannaschii. Both the nucleoside diphosphate mannose pathway and a pathway involving nucleoside diphosphate derivatives of fructose-1-P, fructose-2-P, or fructose-1,6-bisP were tested and eliminated. The established pathways did not produce the expected intermediates nor did the anticipated enzymes have the predicted enzymatic activities. Because neither anticipated pathway could produce DKFP, M. jannaschii glucose-6-P metabolism was studied in detail to establish exactly how glucose-6-P is converted into DKFP. This detailed analysis showed that methylglyoxal and a fructose-1-P- or fructose-1,6-bisP-derived dihydroxyacetone-P fragment are key intermediates in DKFP production. Glucose-6-P readily converts to fructose-6-P, which in turn converts to fructose-1,6-bisP. Fructose-6-P and fructose-1,6-bisP convert into glyceraldehyde-3-P (Ga-P-3), which converts into methylglyoxal by a 2,3-elimination of phosphate. The MJ1585-derived enzyme catalyzes the condensation of methylglyoxal with a dihydroxyacetone-P fragment, which is derived from fructose-1-P and/or fructose-1,6-bisP, generating DKFP. The elimination of phosphate from Ga-P-3 proceeds by both enzymatic and chemical routes in cell extracts, producing sufficient concentrations of methylglyoxal to support the reaction. This work is the first report of methylglyoxal functioning in central metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Fructosephosphates / biosynthesis*
  • Mannose / analogs & derivatives
  • Mannose / metabolism
  • Methanococcales / metabolism
  • Nucleoside Diphosphate Sugars / metabolism
  • Pyruvaldehyde / metabolism*


  • 6-deoxy-5-ketofructose 1-phosphate
  • Fructosephosphates
  • Nucleoside Diphosphate Sugars
  • Pyruvaldehyde
  • Mannose