The operon that encodes methyl coenzyme M reductase (MR) in the hyperthermophile was cloned and sequenced. The results of a phylogenetic analysis of the nine MR sequences now available support the position that is a separate methanogen lineage. As in other methanogens, the operon is located immediately upstream of the gene, the promoter-proximal gene in an operon that encodes the -methyltetrahydromethanopterin:coenzyme M methyltransferase that catalyzes the step preceding the MR-catalyzed reaction in methanogenesis. In contrast to other methanogens and hyperthermophilic members of the . CG dinucleotides and CG-containing codons occur frequently in DNA. The MR subunit-encoding genes are preceded by sequences consistent with ribosome binding sites, indicating that mRNA-rRNA base pairing can still direct translation initiation in cells growing at temperatures above 100°C.


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