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Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2019 Jan 5. doi: 10.1007/s11084-018-9570-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Methanogenesis on Early Stages of Life: Ancient but Not Primordial.

Author information

1
Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 70-407 Cd. Universitaria, 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
2
Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, Unidad de Posgrado, Edificio A, 1° Piso, Circuito de Posgrados, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, C.P., 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
3
Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Universitat de València, Apartat Postal 22085, 46071, València, Spain.
4
Institute for Integrative Systems Biology, (I2SysBio, Universitat de València-CSIC), Apartat Postal 22085, 46071, València, Spain.
5
Miembro de El Colegio Nacional, El Colegio Nacional, Donceles 104, Centro Histórico, 06020, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
6
Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 70-407 Cd. Universitaria, 04510, Ciudad de México, Mexico. abb@ciencias.unam.mx.

Abstract

Of the six known autotrophic pathways, the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway (WL) is the only one present in both the acetate producing Bacteria (homoacetogens) and the methane producing Archaea (hydrogenotrophic methanogens), and it has been suggested that WL is one of the oldest metabolic pathways. However, only the so-called carbonyl branch is shared by Archaea and Bacteria, while the methyl branch is different, both in the number of reactions and enzymes, which are not homologous among them. In this work we show that some parts of the methyl branch of archaeal Wood-Ljungdahl pathway (MBWL) are present in bacteria as well as in non-methanogen archaea, although the tangled evolutionary history of MBWL cannot be traced back to the Last Common Ancestor. We have also analyzed the different variants of methanogenesis (hydrogenotrophic, acetoclastic and methylotrophic pathways), and concluded that each of these pathways, and every different enzyme or subunit (in the case of multimeric enzymes), has their own intricate evolutionary history. Our study supports the scenario of hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis being older than the other variants, albeit not old enough to be present in the last archaeal common ancestor.

KEYWORDS:

Archaea; Last common ancestor (LCA); Methanogenesis; Methanogenic coenzymes; Wood-Ljungdahl pathway

PMID:
30612264
DOI:
10.1007/s11084-018-9570-9

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