Methane is one of the most important greenhouse gases, 21 times more potent molecule-for-molecule than carbon dioxide. Methane-oxidizing bacteria (methanotrophs) that are common in terrestrial and marine environments help reduce levels of atmospheric methane. To better understand the bacteria involved in the global methane cycle, the DOE JGI sequenced and annotated the genome of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. This microbe has been studied extensively to identify and characterize several key enzymes involved in methane oxidation. For example, one crucial enzyme uses copper to efficiently oxidize methane. Aside from genes involved in methane oxidation, genes involved in nitrogen fixation and ammonia transport were also identified. An improved understanding of microbial methane biochemistry will help characterize the biological components of global climate models. The new results were just published online ahead of print in the Journal of Bacteriology.
Reference: Stein, L.Y., S. Yoon, J.D. Semrau, A.A. DiSpirito, J.C. Murrell, S. Vuilleumier, M.G. Kalyuzhnaya, H.J.M. Op den Camp, F. Bringel, D. Bruce, J.-F Cheng, A. Copeland, L. Goodwin, S. Han, L Hauser, M.S.M. Jetten, A. Lajus, M.L. Land, A. Lapidus, S. Lucas, C. Médigue, S. Pitluck, T. Woyke, A. Zeytun, and M.G. Klotzl. "Genome sequence of the obligate methanotroph, Methylosinus trichosporium strain OB3b," Journal of Bacteriology doi:10.1128/JB.01144-10. Published online ahead of print on 15 October 2010.
Contact: Dan Drell, SC-23.2, (301) 903-4742
SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
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