Genome Analysis Coupled with Physiological Studies Reveals a Diverse Nitrogen Metabolism in Methylocystis sp. Strain SC2

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Abstract

Background:Methylocystis sp. strain SC2 can adapt to a wide range of methane concentrations. This is due to the presence of two isozymes of particulate methane monooxygenase exhibiting different methane oxidation kinetics. To gain insight into the underlying genetic information, its genome was sequenced and found to comprise a 3.77 Mb chromosome and two large plasmids.Principal Findings:We report important features of the strain SC2 genome. Its sequence is compared with those of seven other methanotroph genomes, comprising members of the Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia. While the pan-genome of all eight methanotroph genomes totals 19,358 CDS, only 154 CDS are shared. The number of core genes increased with phylogenetic relatedness: 328 CDS for proteobacterial methanotrophs and 1,853 CDS for the three alphaproteobacterial Methylocystaceae members, Methylocystis sp. strain SC2 and strain Rockwell, and Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. The comparative study was coupled with physiological experiments to verify that strain SC2 has diverse nitrogen metabolism capabilities. In correspondence to a full complement of 34 genes involved in N2 fixation, strain SC2 was found to grow with atmospheric N2 as the sole nitrogen source, preferably at low oxygen concentrations. Denitrification-mediated accumulation of 0.7 nmol 30N2/hr/mg dry weight of cells under anoxic conditions was detected by tracer analysis. N2 production is related to the activities of plasmid-borne nitric oxide and nitrous oxide reductases.Conclusions/Perspectives:Presence of a complete denitrification pathway in strain SC2, including the plasmid-encoded nosRZDFYX operon, is unique among known methanotrophs. However, the exact ecophysiological role of this pathway still needs to be elucidated. Detoxification of toxic nitrogen compounds and energy conservation under oxygen-limiting conditions are among the possible roles. Relevant features that may stimulate further research are, for example, absence of CRISPR/Cas systems in strain SC2, high number of iron acquisition systems in strain OB3b, and large number of transposases in strain Rockwell. © 2013 Dam et al.

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Dam, B., Dam, S., Blom, J., & Liesack, W. (2013). Genome Analysis Coupled with Physiological Studies Reveals a Diverse Nitrogen Metabolism in Methylocystis sp. Strain SC2. PLoS ONE, 8(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074767

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