Aerobic Bacterial Catabolism of Dimethylsulfoniopropionate

  • Rich BodenEmail author
  • Lee P. Hutt
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an organosulfur zwitterion produced by various marine algae and Bacteria as an osmolyte, cryoprotectant, defense molecule, and antioxidant. In the marine environment in particular, it can be degraded by the Bacteria in various ways. In this chapter we cover the biochemistry and physiology of the various pathways of DMSP catabolism, including the three core enzymes DMSP dethiomethylase (EC, the so-called DMSP lyase), DMSP demethylase (EC, and DMSP CoA transferase/lyase (EC 2.3.1.x). Six isoenzyme classes of DMSP dethiomethylase have been purified and confirmed in marine Bacteria thus far, with a further isoenzyme found in algae that may also occur in Bacteria – these are all discussed in detail. Methodologies for enzyme assays and the synthesis of DMSP hydrochloride are given, including those for radio- and stable-isotope labelling.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological and Marine Sciences, Sustainable Earth Institute, Faculty of Science and EngineeringUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.School of Biological and Marine Sciences, Faculty of Science and EngineeringUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK

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