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More Than 200 Genes Required for Methane Formation from H2 and CO2 and Energy Conservation Are Present in Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus

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      Abstract

      The hydrogenotrophic methanogens Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus can easily be mass cultured. They have therefore been used almost exclusively to study the biochemistry of methanogenesis from H2 and CO2, and the genomes of these two model organisms have been sequenced. The close relationship of the two organisms is reflected in their genomic architecture and coding potential. Within the 1,607 protein coding sequences (CDS) in common, we identified approximately 200 CDS required for the synthesis of the enzymes, coenzymes, and prosthetic groups involved in CO2 reduction to methane and in coupling this process with the phosphorylation of ADP. Approximately 20 additional genes, such as those for the biosynthesis of F430 and methanofuran and for the posttranslational modifications of the two methyl-coenzyme M reductases, remain to be identified.

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      A general method applicable to the search for similarities in the amino acid sequence of two proteins.

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        A general method applicable to the search for similarities in the amino acid sequence of two proteins

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          Extracellular electron transfer via microbial nanowires.

          Microbes that can transfer electrons to extracellular electron acceptors, such as Fe(iii) oxides, are important in organic matter degradation and nutrient cycling in soils and sediments. Previous investigations on electron transfer to Fe(iii) have focused on the role of outer-membrane c-type cytochromes. However, some Fe(iii) reducers lack c-cytochromes. Geobacter species, which are the predominant Fe(iii) reducers in many environments, must directly contact Fe(iii) oxides to reduce them, and produce monolateral pili that were proposed, on the basis of the role of pili in other organisms, to aid in establishing contact with the Fe(iii) oxides. Here we report that a pilus-deficient mutant of Geobacter sulfurreducens could not reduce Fe(iii) oxides but could attach to them. Conducting-probe atomic force microscopy revealed that the pili were highly conductive. These results indicate that the pili of G. sulfurreducens might serve as biological nanowires, transferring electrons from the cell surface to the surface of Fe(iii) oxides. Electron transfer through pili indicates possibilities for other unique cell-surface and cell-cell interactions, and for bioengineering of novel conductive materials.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            1Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, 35043 Marburg, Germany
            2Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis MO 63108, USA
            3Göttingen Genomics Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg August University, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
            Author notes

            Academic Editor: Todd M. Lowe

            Journal
            Archaea
            ARCH
            Archaea
            Hindawi Publishing Corporation
            1472-3646
            1472-3654
            2011
            2011
            27 April 2011
            : 2011
            3087415
            21559116
            10.1155/2011/973848
            Copyright © 2011 Anne-Kristin Kaster et al.

            This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Review Article

            Animal science & Zoology

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