The pathway of cysteine biosynthesis in archaea is still unexplored. Complementation of a cysteine auxotrophic Escherichia coli strain NK3 led to the isolation of the Methanosarcina barked cysK gene [encoding O-acetylserine (thiol)-lyase-A], which displays great similarity to bacterial cysK genes. Adjacent to cysK is an open reading frame orthologous to bacterial cysE (serine transacetylase) genes. These two genes could account for cysteine biosynthesis in this archaeon. Analysis of recent genome data revealed the presence of bacteria-like cysM genes [encoding O-acetylserine (thiol)-lyase- B] in Pyrococcus spp., Sulfolobus solfataricus, and Thermoplasma acidophilum. However, no orthologs for these genes can be found in Methanococcus jannaschii, Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, and Archaeoglobus fulgidus, implying the existence of unrecognizable genes for the same function or a different cysteine biosynthesis pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology