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Chapter 34 : Captivating Methanogens

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Abstract:

As a graduate student, the author was attracted to microbial physiology and metabolism. Techniques such as sonic oscillation had been developed for the rupture of bacterial cell walls; enzyme activity in cell extracts could also be studied. The author worked on the enzyme hippuricase (from ), a hydrolytic enzyme that cleaved a peptide-like bond and was considered of interest because the mechanism of peptide bond synthesis was unknown at the time. In 1961, the author began to study methanogenic bacteria, and these studies, over a twenty-year period, led to work on six new coenzymes of methanogenesis: coenzyme M, coenzyme F, tetrahydromethanopterin, coenzyme F, methanofuran, and coenzyme B. A major portion of the author's research career was devoted to enzyme-coenzyme relationships in the reduction of carbon dioxide to methane. The first new coenzyme of methanogenesis, coenzyme M (CoM), was required as a vitamin by . In the summer of 1954, the author became an observer in van Niel's famous course at Pacific Grove. This fantastic experience enabled him to start his own organisms course. Through assignment of special problems, both the students and the author learned something new about an unusual organism each time the course was given. The author had a continuing interest in unusual organisms: , , magnetic bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria, acetogens, and methanogens.

Citation: Wolfe R. 2000. Captivating Methanogens, p 263-268. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch34

Key Concept Ranking

Environmental Microbiology
0.7150025
Microbial Ecology
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Bacterial Cell Wall
0.47307205
Carbon Dioxide
0.42045793
0.7150025
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Figure 1

Inoculating cultures of strictly anaerobic microorganisms in an anaerobic glove box.

Citation: Wolfe R. 2000. Captivating Methanogens, p 263-268. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch34
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Citation: Wolfe R. 2000. Captivating Methanogens, p 263-268. In Atlas R (ed), Many Faces, Many Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818128.ch34
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References

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1. Metcalf, W. W.,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1998. Molecular genetic analysis of phosphite and hypophosphite oxidation by Pseudomonas stutzeri WM88. J. Bacteriol. 180:55475558.
2. Metcalf, W. W.,, J. K. Zhang,, E. Apolinario,, K. R. Sowers,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1997. A genetic system for Archaea of the genus Methanosarcina: liposome-mediated transformation and construction of shuttle vectors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:26262631.
3. Metcalf, W. W.,, J. K. Zhang,, X. Shi,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1996. Molecular, genetic, and biochemical characterization of the serC gene of Methanosarcina barken Fusaro. J. Bacteriol. 178:57975802.
4. Woo, G. J.,, A. Wasserfalien,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1993. Methyl viologen hydro-genase II, a new member of the hydrogenase family from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum delta H. J. Bacteriol. 175:59705977.
5. DiMarco, A. A.,, T. A. Bobik,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1990. Unusual coenzymes of methanogenesis. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 59:355394.
6. Rouviere, P. E.,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1988. Novel biochemistry of methanogenesis. J. Biol. Chem. 263:79137916.
7. Tanner, R. S.,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1988. Nutritional requirements of Methanomicrobium mobile. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 54:625628.
8. Bobik, T. A.,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1988. Physiological importance of the het-erodisulfide of coenzyme M and 7-mercaptoheptanoylthreonine phosphate in the reduction of carbon dioxide to methane in Methanobacterium. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85:6063.
9. Noll, K. M.,, M. I. Donnelly,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1987. Biochemical aspects of methane formation in Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 53:1521.
10. Frankel, R. B.,, R. P. Blakemore,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1979. Magnetite in freshwater magnetotactic bacteria. Science 203:13551356.
11. Romesser, J. A.,, R. S. Wolfe,, F. Mayer,, E. Spiess,, and A. Walther-Mauruschat. 1979. Methanogenium, a new genus of marine methanogenic bacteria, and characterization of Methanogenium cariaci sp. nov. and Methanogenium marisnigri sp. Nov. Arch. Microbiol. 121:147153.
12. Blakemore, R. P.,, D. Maratea,, and R. S. Wolfe. 1979. Isolation and pure culture of a freshwater magnetic spirillum in chemically defined medium. J. Bacteriol. 140:720729.

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