Comparative genomic analyses reveal trehalose synthase genes as the signature in genus Methanoculleus.

Research paper by Sheng-Chung SC Chen, Chieh-Yin CY Weng, Mei-Chin MC Lai, Hideyuki H Tamaki, Takashi T Narihiro

Indexed on: 13 Jun '19Published on: 03 Apr '19Published in: Marine Genomics


To date, the only methanoarchaea isolated directly from methane hydrate bearing sediments were Methanoculleus submarinus Nankai-1 and Methanoculleus sp. MH98A. Here, we provide the genome of Methanoculleus taiwanensis CYW4 isolated from the deep-sea subseafloor sediment at the Deformation Front offshore southwestern Taiwan, where methane hydrate deposits are likely located. Through comparative genomics analyses of nine Methanoculleus strains from various habitats, 2-3 coding genes for trehalose synthases were found in all nine Methanoculleus genomes, which were not detected in other methanogens and are therefore suggested as a signature of genus Methanoculleus among methane-producing archaea. In addition, the structural genes adjacent to trehalose synthase genes are comprised of the signaling module of Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain-containing proteins, Hsp20 family proteins, arabinose efflux permeases and multiple surface proteins with fasciclin-like (FAS) repeat. This indicates that trehalose synthase gene clusters in Methanoculleus might play roles in the response to various stresses and regulate carbon storage and modification of surface proteins through accumulation of trehalose. The non-gas hydrate-associated Methanoculleus strains harbor carbon-monoxide dehydrogenase (cooS/acsA) genes, which are important for the conversion of acetate to methane at the step of CO oxidation/CO reduction in acetoclastic methanogens and further implies that these strains may be able to utilize CO for methanogenesis in their natural habitats. In addition, both genomes of M. bourgensis strains MS2 and MAB1 harbor highly abundant transposase genes, which may be disseminated from microbial communities in their habitats, sewage treatment plants and biogas reactors, which are breeding grounds for antibiotic resistance. Through comparative genomic analyses, we gained insight into understanding the life of strictly anaerobic methane-producing archaea in various habitats, especially in methane-based deep-sea ecosystems. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.