Metabolism of organosulfur compounds in Rugeria pomeroyi DSS-3
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Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) accounts for up to 10% of the carbon fixed by marine phytoplankton, most of which, is released as dissolved organic matter available for degradation and assimilation by bacterioplankton. Bacterial metabolism of DMSP proceeds via two competing pathways: demethylation or cleavage. The latter releases dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a climatically relevant gas and a major source of atmospheric sulfur. The demethylation pathway was found to be highly abundant in marine bacteria and accounts for a majority of DMSP degradation. In addition to being a source of energy and sulfur for marine bacteria, the demethylation pathway directs transformation of DMSP away from formation of DMS. A number of techniques were utilized to elucidate the pathways and enzymology of DMSP metabolism in the marine bacteria, Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3.