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Arch Microbiol. 2006 Mar;185(2):83-90. Epub 2005 Dec 10.

Dissimilation of C3-sulfonates.

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  • 1Department of Biology, The University of Konstanz, 78457, Konstanz, Germany.


Cysteate and sulfolactate are widespread natural products in the environment, while propanesulfonate, 3-aminopropanesulfonate and propane-1,3-disulfonate are xenobiotics. While some understanding of the bacterial assimilation of cysteate sulfur has been achieved, details of the dissimilation of cysteate and sulfolactate by microbes together with information on the degradation of the xenobiotics have only recently become available. This minireview centres on bacterial catabolism of the carbon moiety in these C(3)-sulfonates and on the fate of the sulfonate group. Three mechanisms of desulfonation have been established. Firstly, cysteate is converted via sulfopyruvate to sulfolactate, which is desulfonated to pyruvate and sulfite; the latter is oxidized to sulfate by a sulfite dehydrogenase and excreted as sulfate in Paracoccus pantotrophus NKNCYSA. Secondly, sulfolactate can be converted to cysteate, which is cleaved in a pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-coupled reaction to pyruvate, sulfite and ammonium ions; in Silicibacter pomeroyi DSS-3, the sulfite is excreted largely as sulfite. Both desulfonation reactions seem to be widespread. The third desulfonation mechanism is oxygenolysis of, e.g. propanesulfonate(s), about which less is known.

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