Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 182, Issue 2–3, pp 126–137 | Cite as

F420H2 oxidase (FprA) from Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus, a coenzyme F420-dependent enzyme involved in O2 detoxification

  • Henning Seedorf
  • Annette Dreisbach
  • Reiner Hedderich
  • Seigo Shima
  • Rudolf K. ThauerEmail author
Original Paper


Cell suspensions of Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus catalyzed the reduction of O2 with H2 at a maximal specific rate of 0.4 U (μmol/min) per mg protein with an apparent Km for O2 of 30 μM. The reaction was not inhibited by cyanide. The oxidase activity was traced back to a coenzyme F420-dependent enzyme that was purified to apparent homogeneity and that catalyzed the oxidation of 2 F420H2 with 1 O2 to 2 F420 and 2 H2O. The apparent Km for F420 was 30 μM and that for O2 was 2 μM with a Vmax of 240 U/mg at 37°C and pH 7.6, the pH optimum of the oxidase. The enzyme did not use NADH or NADPH as electron donor or H2O2 as electron acceptor and was not inhibited by cyanide. The 45-kDa protein, whose gene was cloned and sequenced, contained 1 FMN per mol and harbored a binuclear iron center as indicated by the sequence motif H–X–E–X–D–X62H–X18D–X60H. Sequence comparisons revealed that the F420H2 oxidase from M. arboriphilus is phylogenetically closely related to FprA from Methanothermobacter marburgensis (71% sequence identity), a 45-kDa flavoprotein of hitherto unknown function, and to A-type flavoproteins from bacteria (30–40%), which all have dioxygen reductase activity. With heterologously produced FprA from M. marburgensis it is shown that this protein is also a highly efficient F420H2 oxidase and that it contains 1 FMN and 2 iron atoms. The presence of F420H2 oxidase in methanogenic archaea may explain why some methanogens, e.g., the Methanobrevibacter species in the termite hindgut, cannot only tolerate but thrive under microoxic conditions.


Type A flavoprotein F420H2 oxidase Rubredoxin oxidase Oxygen detoxification Methanobrevibacter Methanothermobacter Moorella Desulfovibrio Methanogenic archaea 



Flavoproteins belonging to the type-A flavoproteins family


F420-reducing hydrogenase


H2-forming methylenetetrahydromethanopterin dehydrogenase


F420-dependent methylenetetrahydromethanopterin dehydrogenase


High-molecular-mass rubredoxin


Rubredoxin:oxygen oxidoreductase



This work was supported by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and by the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie. We thank Dr D. Linder (Gieβen) for N-terminal amino acid sequence determinations via Edman degradation and Dr D.M. Kurtz (Athens, Georgia, USA) for providing purified FprA and Hrb from M. thermoacetica.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henning Seedorf
    • 1
  • Annette Dreisbach
    • 1
  • Reiner Hedderich
    • 1
  • Seigo Shima
    • 1
  • Rudolf K. Thauer
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie und Laboratorium für Mikrobiologie des Fachbereichs BiologiePhilipps-UniversitätMarburgGermany

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