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Methanofuran describes a family of chemical compounds found in methanogenic archaea.[1] These species feature a 2-aminomethylfuran linked to phenoxy group. At least three different end groups are recognized: R = tricarboxyheptanoyl (methanofuran), glutamyl-glutamyl (methanofuran b), tricarboxy-2-hydroxyheptanoyl (methanofuran c, see picture).

Formylation of MFR

Methanofuran converts to formylmethanofuran in an early stage of methanogenesis. The enzyme formylmethanofuran dehydrogenase (EC: formylates methanofuran using CO2, the primary C1 source in methanogenesis.[2]

Deformylation of MFR

The enzyme formylmethanofuran:tetrahydromethanopterin formyltransferase catalyzes the transfer of the formyl group from formylmethanofuran to N5 on tetrahydromethanopterin, H4MPT. This enzyme has been crystallized; it contains no prosthetic group.[3]


  1. Thauer, R. K., "Biochemistry of methanogenesis: a tribute to Marjory Stephenson", Microbiology, 1998, 144, 2377-2406.
  2. Vorholt, J.A.; Thauer, R.K. “The Active Species of 'CO2' Utilized by Formylmethanofuran Dehydrogenase from Methanogenic Archaea” European Journal of Biochemistry 1997, volume 248, pages 919-24.
  3. Acharya, P.; Warkentin, E.; Ermler, U.; Thauer, R. K. and Shima, S., "The Structure of Formylmethanofuran:Tetrahydromethanopterin Formyltransferase in Complex with its Coenzymes", Journal of Molecular Biology, 2006, 357, 870-879.