Two pathways for cysteine biosynthesis are known in nature; however, it is not known which, if either, the Archaea utilize. Enzyme activities in extracts of Methanosarcina thermophila grown with combinations of cysteine and sulfide as sulfur sources indicated that this archaeon utilizes the pathway found in the Bacteria domain. The genes encoding serine transacetylase and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (cysE and cysK) are adjacent on the chromosome of M. thermophila and possibly form an operon. When M. thermophila is grown with cysteine as the sole sulfur source, O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase activity is maximally expressed suggesting alternative roles for this enzyme apart from cysteine biosynthesis. (C) 2000 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes