Identification of methyl coenzyme M as an intermediate in methanogenesis from acetate in Methanosarcina spp

J Bacteriol. 1984 Nov;160(2):521-5. doi: 10.1128/jb.160.2.521-525.1984.


The transfer of the methyl group of acetate to coenzyme M (2-mercaptoethanesulfonic acid; HS-CoM) during the metabolism of acetate to methane was investigated in cultures of Methanosarcina strain TM-1. The organism metabolized CD3COO- to 83% CD3H and 17% CD2H2 and produced no CDH3 or CH4. The isotopic composition of coenzyme M in cells grown on CD3COO- was analyzed with a novel gas chromatography-mass spectrometry technique. The cells contained CD3-D-CoM and CD2H-S-CoM) in a proportion similar to that of CD3H to CD2H2. These results, in conjunction with a report (J.K. Nelson and J.G. Ferry, J. Bacteriol. 160:526-532, 1984) that extracts of acetate-grown strain TM-1 contain high levels of CH3-S-CoM methylreductase, indicate that CH3-S-CoM is an intermediate in the metabolism of acetate to methane in this organism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism*
  • Deuterium
  • Euryarchaeota / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Mercaptoethanol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mesna / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mesna / isolation & purification
  • Mesna / metabolism
  • Methane / metabolism
  • Methylation


  • Acetates
  • methyl coenzyme M
  • Mercaptoethanol
  • Deuterium
  • Mesna
  • Methane