I love TQTs!






by Greg Crowther


An introduction to the metabolism of methylotrophs -- bacteria that can subsist on a diet of one-carbon (C1) compounds, which they convert to three-carbon (C3) compounds via the serine or ribulose monophosophate (RuMP) cycle, depending on the organism.

This song was written for and performed during a guest lecture in Microbiology 412 at the University of Washington. Ideally, the words in parentheses should be shouted out by an enthusiastic bunch of students.


Energy and carbon both are needed for the growth
Of methylotrophs. (Methylotrophs!)
But they’ve got the metabolic tools to grow on C1 fuels....
They’re methylotrophs. (Methylotrophs!)
And their substrates are all around,
So that’s where they are found --
On the land and in Puget Sound
Are methylotrophs. (Methylotrophs!)

What can methylotrophs grow on?
Repeat after me....
Methane. (Methane!)
Methyl halides. (Methyl halides!)
Methanol. (Methanol!)
Methylamine. (Methylamine!)
Formate. (Formate!)
Formamide. (Formamide!)
Dimethyl sulfide. (Dimethyl sulfide!)
And other stuff. (And other stuff!)

They take the substrate that’s supplied and make formaldehyde....
They’re methylotrophs. (Methylotrophs!)
Which then becomes CO2 gas and also biomass
In methylotrophs. (Methylotrophs!)
Yes, they have the ability
To turn C1 molecules to C3
By making serine or RuMP....
They’re methylotrophs! (Methylotrophs!)