Methane-Oxidizing Bacterium Sequenced at DOE-JGI

The sequence of the M. trichosporium OB3b genome is the first reported from a member of the Methylocystaceae family.

The Science

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 Joint Genome Institute 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.

Previously studied or predicted genes encoding enzymes and proteins involved in methane oxidation (methane oxidation inventory) were identified; these included both soluble and particulate methane monooxygenases, methanol dehydrogenase, proteins and enzymes involved in pyrroloquinoline quinone synthesis and tetrahydrofolate- and tetrahydromethanopterin-linked pathways, NAD-linked formate dehydrogenases, and hydrogenase. An improved understanding of microbial methane biochemistry will help characterize the biological components of global climate models.

BER Program Manager

Ramana Madupu

U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Biological Systems Science Division
[email protected]


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. MĂ©digue, S. Pitluck, T. Woyke, A. Zeytun, and M.G. Klotzl. 2010. “Genome Sequence of the Obligate Methanotroph, Methylosinus trichosporium strain OB3b,” Journal of Bacteriology. DOI:10.1128/JB.01144-10.