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Title: Genomic analysis of methanogenic archaea reveals a shift towards energy conservation

The metabolism of archaeal methanogens drives methane release into the environment and is critical to understanding global carbon cycling. Methanogenesis operates at a very low reducing potential compared to other forms of respiration and is therefore critical to many anaerobic environments. Harnessing or altering methanogen metabolism has the potential to mitigate global warming and even be utilized for energy applications. Here, we report draft genome sequences for the isolated methanogens Methanobacterium bryantii, Methanosarcina spelaei, Methanosphaera cuniculi, and Methanocorpusculum parvum. These anaerobic, methane-producing archaea represent a diverse set of isolates, capable of methylotrophic, acetoclastic, and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Assembly and analysis of the genomes allowed for simple and rapid reconstruction of metabolism in the four methanogens. Comparison of the distribution of Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COG) proteins to a sample of genomes from the RefSeq database revealed a trend towards energy conservation in genome composition of all methanogens sequenced. Further analysis of the predicted membrane proteins and transporters distinguished differing energy conservation methods utilized during methanogenesis, such as chemiosmotic coupling in Msar. spelaei and electron bifurcation linked to chemiosmotic coupling in Mbac. bryantii and Msph. cuniculi. Methanogens occupy a unique ecological niche, acting as the terminal electron acceptors in anaerobic environments, andmore » their genomes display a significant shift towards energy conservation. The genome-enabled reconstructed metabolisms reported here have significance to diverse anaerobic communities and have led to proposed substrate utilization not previously reported in isolation, such as formate and methanol metabolism in Mbac. bryantii and CO 2 metabolism in Msph. cuniculi. The newly proposed substrates establish an important foundation with which to decipher how methanogens behave in native communities, as CO 2 and formate are common electron carriers in microbial communities.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [4] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  2. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering; Technical Univ. of Denmark, Horsholm (Denmark). Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability
  3. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). College of Creative Studies. Biology Program
  4. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth Science. Marine Science Inst.
  5. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering. Dept. of Earth Science. Marine Science Inst.
  6. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). California NanoScience Inst.
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0010352; W911NF-09-0001; OCE-1046144; DGE 1144085; VKR023128
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
BMC Genomics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 18; Journal ID: ISSN 1471-2164
Publisher:
Springer
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); Univ. of California (United States); US Army Research Office (ARO); National Science Foundation (NSF); VILLUM Foundation (Denmark)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; Methanogenesis; Archaea; Metabolism; Anaerobes; Energy
OSTI Identifier:
1424613