A novel coenzyme from bacterial primary alcohol dehydrogenases


METHYLOTROPHIC bacteria are able to use methane derivatives as their sole source of carbon and metabolic energy and so can sustain growth on methane, methanol and other organic compounds which lack carbon–carbon bonds1. They are not autotrophic and, being unable to use carbon dioxide, rely ultimately on their ability to oxidise these substances. Although the primary alcohol dehydrogenases from a variety of methanol-grown bacteria have been purified and compared, and despite the increasing commerical importance of these organisms as sources of ‘single cell protein’, the essential features of these oxidative pathways remain unknown. The dehydrogenases exhibit a rather broad substrate specificity for primary alcohols and formaldehyde, and seem to contain a common and novel cofactor2–6, which may be more generally associated with the oxidation of single-carbon compounds. The structure of the cofactor is reported here.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Colby, J. & Zatman, L. J. Biochem. J. 128, 1373–6 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Anthony, C. & Zatman, L. J. Biochem. J. 104, 960–969 (1967).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Sperl, G. T., Forrest, H. S. & Gibson, D. T. J. Bact. 118, 541–550 (1974).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Duine, J. A., Frank, J. & Westerling, J. Biochim. biophys. Acta 524, 277–287 (1978).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Patel, R. N., Hou, C. T. & Felix, A. J. Bact. 133, 641–9 (1978).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Wadzinski, A. M. & Ribbons, D. W. J. Bact. 122, 1364–74 (1975).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Sperl, G. T. thesis, Univ. Texas (1973).

  8. 8

    Sperl, G. T., Forrest, H. S. & Hoare, D. S. Bact. Proc. 151 (1973).

  9. 9

    Dahl, J. S., Mehta, R. J. & Hoare, D. S. J. Bact. 109, 437–445 (1972).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Johnson, C. K. ORTEP Rep. ORNL-3794, (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenessee, 1965).

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

SALISBURY, S., FORREST, H., CRUSE, W. et al. A novel coenzyme from bacterial primary alcohol dehydrogenases. Nature 280, 843–844 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1038/280843a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing