The 380 kb pCMU01 plasmid encodes chloromethane utilization genes and redundant genes for vitamin B12- and tetrahydrofolate-dependent chloromethane metabolism in Methylobacterium extorquens CM4: a proteomic and bioinformatics study.PLoS One 2013; 8(4):e56598Plos
Chloromethane (CH3Cl) is the most abundant volatile halocarbon in the atmosphere and contributes to the destruction of stratospheric ozone. The only known pathway for bacterial chloromethane utilization (cmu) was characterized in Methylobacterium extorquens CM4, a methylotrophic bacterium able to utilize compounds without carbon-carbon bonds such as methanol and chloromethane as the sole carbon source for growth. Previous work demonstrated that tetrahydrofolate and vitamin B12 are essential cofactors of cmuA- and cmuB-encoded methyltransferases of chloromethane dehalogenase, and that the pathway for chloromethane utilization is distinct from that for methanol. This work reports genomic and proteomic data demonstrating that cognate cmu genes are located on the 380 kb pCMU01 plasmid, which drives the previously defined pathway for tetrahydrofolate-mediated chloromethane dehalogenation. Comparison of complete genome sequences of strain CM4 and that of four other M. extorquens strains unable to grow with chloromethane showed that plasmid pCMU01 harbors unique genes without homologs in the compared genomes (bluB2, btuB, cobA, cbiD), as well as 13 duplicated genes with homologs of chromosome-borne genes involved in vitamin B12-associated biosynthesis and transport, or in tetrahydrofolate-dependent metabolism (folC2). In addition, the presence of both chromosomal and plasmid-borne genes for corrinoid salvaging pathways may ensure corrinoid coenzyme supply in challenging environments. Proteomes of M. extorquens CM4 grown with one-carbon substrates chloromethane and methanol were compared. Of the 49 proteins with differential abundance identified, only five (CmuA, CmuB, PurU, CobH2 and a PaaE-like uncharacterized putative oxidoreductase) are encoded by the pCMU01 plasmid. The mainly chromosome-encoded response to chloromethane involves gene clusters associated with oxidative stress, production of reducing equivalents (PntAA, Nuo complex), conversion of tetrahydrofolate-bound one-carbon units, and central metabolism. The mosaic organization of plasmid pCMU01 and the clustering of genes coding for dehalogenase enzymes and for biosynthesis of associated cofactors suggests a history of gene acquisition related to chloromethane utilization.