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Marburg, Germany

The Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology is a research institute for terrestrial microbiology in Marburg, Germany. It was founded in 1991 by Rudolf K. Thauer and is one of 80 institutes in the Max Planck Society . Its sister institute is the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, which was founded a year later in 1992 in Bremen. Wikipedia.

Thauer R.K.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Annual Review of Microbiology | Year: 2015

Early parental influence led me first to medical school, but after developing a passion for biochemistry and sensing the need for a deeper foundation, I changed to chemistry. During breaks between semesters, I worked in various biochemistry labs to acquire a feeling for the different areas of investigation. The scientific puzzle that fascinated me most was the metabolism of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium kluyveri, which I took on in 1965 in Karl Decker's lab in Freiburg, Germany. I quickly realized that little was known about the biochemistry of strict anaerobes such as clostridia, methanogens, acetogens, and sulfate-reducing bacteria and that these were ideal model organisms to study fundamental questions of energy conservation, CO2 fixation, and the evolution of metabolic pathways. My passion for anaerobes was born then and is unabated even after 50 years of study. © Copyright ©2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Thauer R.K.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2010

More than one way to skin a cat: Some strictly anaerobic bacteria grow in the presence of methane and nitrite, forming CO 2 and N 2. Recently published experimental evidence suggests the involvement of a NO dismutase and of a particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) in the process. Both enzymes are lacking in microorganisms that catalyze anaerobic methane oxidation with sulfate. There are thus at least two pathways that enable anaerobes to use methane as fuel. Chemical Equation presented © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Stukenbrock E.H.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
New Phytologist | Year: 2013

Speciation of fungal plant pathogens has been associated with host jumps, host domestication, clonal divergence, and hybridization. Although we have substantial insight into the speciation histories of several important plant pathogens, we still know very little about the underlying genetics of reproductive isolation. Studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa, and nonfungal model systems illustrate that reproductive barriers can evolve by different mechanisms, including genetic incompatibilities between neutral and adaptive substitutions, reinforcement selection, and chromosomal rearrangements. Advances in genome sequencing and sequence analyses provide a new framework to identify those traits that have driven the divergence of populations or caused reproductive isolation between species of fungal plant pathogens. These traits can be recognized based on signatures of strong divergent selection between species or through the association of allelic combination conferring hybrid inferiority. Comparative genome analyses also provide information about the contribution of genome rearrangements to speciation. This is particularly relevant for species of fungal pathogens with extreme levels of genomic rearrangements and within-species genome plasticity. © 2013 The Author © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.

Thauer R.K.,Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
Current Opinion in Microbiology | Year: 2011

Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) with sulfate is apparently catalyzed by an association of methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria. In many habitats, the free energy change (ΔG) available through this process is only -20kJ/mol and therefore AOM with sulfate reduction generating life-supporting ATP is predicted to operate near thermodynamic equilibrium (ΔG=0kJ/mol). On the basis of meta-genome sequencing and enzyme studies, it has been proposed that AOM in ANME is catalyzed by the same enzymes that catalyze CO2 reduction to CH4 in methanogenic archaea. Here, this proposal is reviewed and evaluated in terms of the process thermodynamics, kinetics, and enzyme reversibilities. Currently, there is no evidence for the presence of the gene that encodes methylene-tetrahydromethanopterin reductase in ANME, one of the central enzymes in the CO2 to CH4 pathway. However, all of the remaining enzymes do appear to be present and, with the exception of a coenzyme M-S-S-coenzyme B heterodisulfide reductase, all of these enzymes have been confirmed to catalyze reversible reactions. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

The hydrogenotrophic methanogens Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus can easily be mass cultured. They have therefore been used almost exclusively to study the biochemistry of methanogenesis from H and CO, and the genomes of these two model organisms have been sequenced. The close relationship of the two organisms is reflected in their genomic architecture and coding potential. Within the 1,607 protein coding sequences (CDS) in common, we identified approximately 200 CDS required for the synthesis of the enzymes, coenzymes, and prosthetic groups involved in CO reduction to methane and in coupling this process with the phosphorylation of ADP. Approximately 20 additional genes, such as those for the biosynthesis of F(430) and methanofuran and for the posttranslational modifications of the two methyl-coenzyme M reductases, remain to be identified.

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