Assembly of Methyl Coenzyme M Reductase in the Methanogenic Archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis

J Bacteriol. 2018 Mar 12;200(7):e00746-17. doi: 10.1128/JB.00746-17. Print 2018 Apr 1.


Methyl coenzyme M reductase (MCR) is a complex enzyme that catalyzes the final step in biological methanogenesis. To better understand its assembly, the recombinant MCR from the thermophile Methanothermococcus okinawensis (rMCRok) was expressed in the mesophile Methanococcus maripaludis The rMCRok was posttranslationally modified correctly and contained McrD and the unique nickel tetrapyrrole coenzyme F430 Subunits of the native M. maripaludis (MCRmar) were largely absent, suggesting that the recombinant enzyme was formed by an assembly of cotranscribed subunits. Strong support for this hypothesis was obtained by expressing a chimeric operon comprising the His-tagged mcrA from M. maripaludis and the mcrBDCG from M. okinawensis in M. maripaludis The His-tagged purified rMCR then contained the M. maripaludis McrA and the M. okinawensis McrBDG. The present study prompted us to form a working model for MCR assembly, which can be further tested by the heterologous expression system established here.IMPORTANCE Approximately 1.6% of the net primary production of plants, algae, and cyanobacteria are processed by biological methane production in anoxic environments. This accounts for about 74% of the total global methane production, up to 25% of which is consumed by anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). Methyl coenzyme M reductase (MCR) is the key enzyme in both methanogenesis and AOM. MCR is assembled as a dimer of two heterotrimers, where posttranslational modifications and F430 cofactors are embedded in the active sites. However, this complex assembly process remains unknown. Here, we established a heterologous expression system for MCR to learn how MCR is assembled.

Keywords: Methanococcus; Methanothermococcus; coenzyme F430; methyl coenzyme M reductase; posttranslational modification.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Catalysis
  • Metalloporphyrins / chemistry
  • Methane / metabolism*
  • Methanococcus / enzymology*
  • Methanococcus / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases / chemistry
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / genetics*


  • Metalloporphyrins
  • factor F430
  • Oxidoreductases
  • methyl coenzyme M reductase
  • Methane