Transcriptomic profiling of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath)during growth with two different methane monooxygenases
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) is a methanotroph that possesses both a membrane-embedded (pMMO) and a soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO). The expression of these two MMO's is tightly controlled by the availability of copper in the growth medium, but the underlying mechanisms and the number of genes involved in this switch in methane oxidation is not yet fully elucidated. Microarray analyses were used to assess the transcriptome in cells producing either pMMO or sMMO. A total of 137 genes were differentially expressed, with 87 genes showing a significant up-regulation during sMMO production. The majority of the differentially expressed genes could be assigned to functional roles in the energy metabolism and transport. Furthermore, three copper responding gene clusters were discovered, including an extended cluster that also harbors the genes for sMMO. Our data also indicates that major changes takes place in the respiratory chain between pMMO- and sMMO-producing cells, and that quinone are predominantly used as the electron donors for methane oxidation by pMMO. Intriguingly, a large proportion of the differentially expressed genes between pMMO- and sMMO-producing cells encode c-type cytochromes. By combining microarray- and mass spectrometry data, a total of 35 c-type cytochromes are apparently expressed in M. capsulatus when grown in nitrate mineral salt medium with methane as sole energy and carbon source, and the expression of 21 of these respond to the availability of copper. Interestingly, several of these c-type cytochromes are recovered from the cell surface, suggesting that extracellular electron transfers may occur in M. capsulatus.