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Structure of the methanofurans

Methanofurans are a family of chemical compounds found in methanogenic archaea.[1] These species feature a 2-aminomethylfuran linked to phenoxy group. At least three different end groups are recognized: R = tricarboxyheptanoyl (methanofuran), glutamyl-glutamyl (methanofuran b), tricarboxy-2-hydroxyheptanoyl (methanofuran c, see picture).

Formylation of MFR[edit]

Methanofuran converts to formylmethanofuran in an early stage of methanogenesis. The enzyme formylmethanofuran dehydrogenase (EC: formylates methanofuran using CO
, the primary C1 source in methanogenesis.[2]

Deformylation of MFR[edit]

The enzyme formylmethanofuran:tetrahydromethanopterin formyltransferase catalyzes the transfer of the formyl group from formylmethanofuran to N5 on tetrahydromethanopterin, H
. This enzyme has been crystallized; it contains no prosthetic group.[3]


  1. ^ Thauer RK (September 1998). "Biochemistry of methanogenesis: a tribute to Marjory Stephenson. 1998 Marjory Stephenson Prize Lecture". Microbiology. 144 (Pt 9): 2377–406. doi:10.1099/00221287-144-9-2377. PMID 9782487.
  2. ^ Vorholt JA, Thauer RK (September 1997). "The active species of CO
    utilized by formylmethanofuran dehydrogenase from methanogenic Archaea". Eur. J. Biochem. 248 (3): 919–24. doi:10.1111/j.1432-1033.1997.00919.x. PMID 9342247.
  3. ^ Acharya P, Warkentin E, Ermler U, Thauer RK, Shima S (March 2006). "The structure of formylmethanofuran: tetrahydromethanopterin formyltransferase in complex with its coenzymes". J. Mol. Biol. 357 (3): 870–9. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2006.01.015. PMID 16466742.