Catabolism of dimethylsulphoniopropionate: Microorganisms, enzymes and genes
The compatible solute dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) has important roles in marine environments. It is an anti-stress compound made by many single-celled plankton, some seaweeds and a few land plants that live by the shore. Furthermore, in the oceans it is a major source of carbon and sulphur for marine bacteria that break it down to products such as dimethyl sulphide, which are important in their own right and have wide-ranging effects, from altering animal behaviour to seeding cloud formation. In this Review, we describe how recent genetic and genomic work on the ways in which several different bacteria, and some fungi, catabolize DMSP has provided new and surprising insights into the mechanisms, regulation and possible evolution of DMSP catabolism in microorganisms.