Summary: A novel methylotroph, strain M2, capable of utilizing methanesulfonic acid (MSA) as a sole source of carbon and energy was the subject of these investigations. The initial step in the biodegradative pathway of MSA in strain M2 involved an inducible NADH-specific monooxygenase enzyme (MSAMO). Partial purification of MSAMO from cell-free extracts by ion-exchange chromatography led to the loss of MSAMO activity. Activity was restored by the mixing of three distinct protein fractions designated A, B and C. The reconstituted enzyme had a narrow substrate specificity relative to crude cell-free extracts. Addition of FAD and ferrous ions to the reconstituted enzyme complex resulted in a fivefold increase in enzyme activity, suggesting the loss of FAD and ferrous ion from the multicomponent enzyme on purification. Analysis of mutants of strain M2 defective in the metabolism of C compounds indicated that methanol was not an intermediate in the degradative pathway of MSA and also confirmed the involvement of a multicomponent enzyme in the degradation of MSA by methylotroph strain M2.


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