PerspectiveBIOGEOCHEMISTRY

Who can cleave DMSP?

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Science  26 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6242, pp. 1430-1431
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac5661

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Summary

Marine organisms play a key role in the global sulfur cycle by producing dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a volatile compound that is emitted into the atmosphere. On page 1466 of this issue, Alcolombri et al. (1) report how the abundant marine phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi (see the image) produces DMS from dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP). Using a series of classical biochemical approaches, augmented by genomic and proteomic analyses, the authors isolated the enzyme and corresponding gene (termed Alma1) that cleaves DMSP into acrylate and DMS. They also found a functional Alma1-like enzyme in a dinoflagellate, a very different type of abundant single-cell marine plankton, emphasizing the widespread importance of this newly discovered DMSP lyase.