A new route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae

Douglas A. Gage, David Rhodes, Kurt D Nolte, Wayne A. Hicks, Thomas Leustek, Arthur J L Cooper, Andrew D. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 3-dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) produced by marine algae is the main biogenic precursor of atmospheric dimethylsulphide (DMS). This biogenic DMS, formed by bacterial and algal degradation of DMSP, contributes about 1.5 x 1013 g of sulphur to the atmosphere annually, and plays a major part in the global sulphur cycle, in cloud formation and potentially in climate regulation. Although DMSP biosynthesis has been partially elucidated in a higher plant, nothing is known about how algae make DMSP except that the whole molecule is derived from methionine. Here we use in vivo isotope labelling to demonstrate that DMSP synthesis in the green macroalga Enteromorpha intestinalis proceeds by a route entirely distinct from that in higher plants. From methionine, the steps are transamination, reduction, and S-methylation to give the novel sulphonium compound 4-dimethylsulphonio-2- hydroxybutyrate (DMSHB), which is oxidatively decarboxylated to DMSP. The key intermediate DMSHB was also identified in three diverse phytoplankton species, indicating that the same pathway operates in other algal classes that are important sources of DMS. The fact that a transamination initiates this pathway could help explain how algal DMSP (and thereby DMS) production is enhanced by nitrogen deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-894
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume387
Issue number6636
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 1997
Externally publishedYes

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Hydroxybutyrates
Sulfur
Methionine
Isotope Labeling
Phytoplankton
Climate
Atmosphere
Methylation
Nitrogen
dimethyl sulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Gage, D. A., Rhodes, D., Nolte, K. D., Hicks, W. A., Leustek, T., Cooper, A. J. L., & Hanson, A. D. (1997). A new route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae. Nature, 387(6636), 891-894. https://doi.org/10.1038/43160

A new route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae. / Gage, Douglas A.; Rhodes, David; Nolte, Kurt D; Hicks, Wayne A.; Leustek, Thomas; Cooper, Arthur J L; Hanson, Andrew D.

In: Nature, Vol. 387, No. 6636, 26.06.1997, p. 891-894.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gage, DA, Rhodes, D, Nolte, KD, Hicks, WA, Leustek, T, Cooper, AJL & Hanson, AD 1997, 'A new route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae', Nature, vol. 387, no. 6636, pp. 891-894. https://doi.org/10.1038/43160
Gage DA, Rhodes D, Nolte KD, Hicks WA, Leustek T, Cooper AJL et al. A new route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae. Nature. 1997 Jun 26;387(6636):891-894. https://doi.org/10.1038/43160
Gage, Douglas A. ; Rhodes, David ; Nolte, Kurt D ; Hicks, Wayne A. ; Leustek, Thomas ; Cooper, Arthur J L ; Hanson, Andrew D. / A new route for synthesis of dimethylsulphoniopropionate in marine algae. In: Nature. 1997 ; Vol. 387, No. 6636. pp. 891-894.
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