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Front Microbiol ; 11: 604485, 2020.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33381099


Volcanic areas emit a number of gases including methane and other short chain alkanes, that may serve as energy source for the prevailing microorganisms. The verrucomicrobial methanotroph Methylacidiphilum fumariolicum SolV was isolated from a volcanic mud pot, and is able to grow under thermoacidophilic conditions on different gaseous substrates. Its genome contains three operons encoding a particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), the enzyme that converts methane to methanol. The expression of two of these pmo operons is subjected to oxygen-dependent regulation, whereas the expression of the third copy (pmoCAB3) has, so far, never been reported. In this study we investigated the ability of strain SolV to utilize short-chain alkanes and monitored the expression of the pmo operons under different conditions. In batch cultures and in carbon-limited continuous cultures, strain SolV was able to oxidize and grow on C1-C3 compounds. Oxidation of ethane did occur simultaneously with methane, while propane consumption only started once methane and ethane became limited. Butane oxidation was not observed. Transcriptome data showed that pmoCAB1 and pmoCAB3 were induced in the absence of methane and the expression of pmoCAB3 increased upon propane addition. Together the results of our study unprecedently show that a pMMO-containing methanotroph is able to co-metabolize other gaseous hydrocarbons, beside methane. Moreover, it expands the substrate spectrum of verrucomicrobial methanotrophs, supporting their high metabolic flexibility and adaptation to the harsh and dynamic conditions in volcanic ecosystems.

ISME J ; 14(5): 1223-1232, 2020 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32042101


The trace amounts (0.53 ppmv) of atmospheric hydrogen gas (H2) can be utilized by microorganisms to persist during dormancy. This process is catalyzed by certain Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Chloroflexi, and is estimated to convert 75 × 1012 g H2 annually, which is half of the total atmospheric H2. This rapid atmospheric H2 turnover is hypothesized to be catalyzed by high-affinity [NiFe] hydrogenases. However, apparent high-affinity H2 oxidation has only been shown in whole cells, rather than for the purified enzyme. Here, we show that the membrane-associated hydrogenase from the thermoacidophilic methanotroph Methylacidiphilum fumariolicum SolV possesses a high apparent affinity (Km(app) = 140 nM) for H2 and that methanotrophs can oxidize subatmospheric H2. Our findings add to the evidence that the group 1h [NiFe] hydrogenase is accountable for atmospheric H2 oxidation and that it therefore could be a strong controlling factor in the global H2 cycle. We show that the isolated enzyme possesses a lower affinity (Km = 300 nM) for H2 than the membrane-associated enzyme. Hence, the membrane association seems essential for a high affinity for H2. The enzyme is extremely thermostable and remains folded up to 95 °C. Strain SolV is the only known organism in which the group 1h [NiFe] hydrogenase is responsible for rapid growth on H2 as sole energy source as well as oxidation of subatmospheric H2. The ability to conserve energy from H2 could increase fitness of verrucomicrobial methanotrophs in geothermal ecosystems with varying CH4 fluxes. We propose that H2 oxidation can enhance growth of methanotrophs in aerated methane-driven ecosystems. Group 1h [NiFe] hydrogenases could therefore contribute to mitigation of global warming, since CH4 is an important and extremely potent greenhouse gas.

Verrucomicrobia/fisiología , Ecosistema , Hidrógeno , Hidrogenasas/metabolismo , Metano , Oxidación-Reducción , Verrucomicrobia/metabolismo
Front Microbiol ; 10: 2352, 2019.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31681216


Emissions of the strong greenhouse gas methane (CH4) to the atmosphere are mitigated by methanotrophic microorganisms. Methanotrophs found in extremely acidic geothermal systems belong to the phylum Verrucomicrobia. Thermophilic verrucomicrobial methanotrophs from the genus Methylacidiphilum can grow autotrophically on hydrogen gas (H2), but it is unknown whether this also holds for their mesophilic counterparts from the genus Methylacidimicrobium. To determine this, we examined H2 consumption and CO2 fixation by the mesophilic verrucomicrobial methanotroph Methylacidimicrobium tartarophylax 4AC. We found that strain 4AC grows autotrophically on H2 with a maximum growth rate of 0.0048 h-1 and a yield of 2.1 g dry weight⋅mol H2 -1, which is about 12 and 41% compared to the growth rate and yield on methane, respectively. The genome of strain 4AC only encodes for an oxygen-sensitive group 1b [NiFe] hydrogenase and H2 is respired only when oxygen concentrations are below 40 µM. Phylogenetic analysis and genomic comparison of methanotrophs revealed diverse [NiFe] hydrogenases, presumably with varying oxygen sensitivity and affinity for H2, which could drive niche differentiation. Our results show that both thermophilic and mesophilic verrucomicrobial methanotrophs can grow as autotrophs on H2 as a sole energy source. Our results suggest that verrucomicrobial methanotrophs are particularly well-equipped to thrive in hostile volcanic ecosystems, since they can consume H2 as additional energy source.

Front Microbiol ; 8: 1901, 2017.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29021790


The Solfatara volcano near Naples (Italy), the origin of the recently discovered verrucomicrobial methanotroph Methylacidiphilum fumariolicum SolV was shown to contain ammonium ([Formula: see text]) at concentrations ranging from 1 to 28 mM. Ammonia (NH3) can be converted to toxic hydroxylamine (NH2OH) by the particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), the first enzyme of the methane (CH4) oxidation pathway. Methanotrophs rapidly detoxify the intermediate NH2OH. Here, we show that strain SolV performs ammonium oxidation to nitrite at a rate of 48.2 nmol [Formula: see text] DW-1 under O2 limitation in a continuous culture grown on hydrogen (H2) as an electron donor. In addition, strain SolV carries out nitrite reduction at a rate of 74.4 nmol [Formula: see text] DW-1 under anoxic condition at pH 5-6. This range of pH was selected to minimize the chemical conversion of nitrite ([Formula: see text]) potentially occurring at more acidic pH values. Furthermore, at pH 6, we showed that the affinity constants (K s ) of the cells for NH3 vary from 5 to 270 µM in the batch incubations with 0.5-8% (v/v) CH4, respectively. Detailed kinetic analysis showed competitive substrate inhibition between CH4 and NH3. Using transcriptome analysis, we showed up-regulation of the gene encoding hydroxylamine dehydrogenase (haoA) cells grown on H2/[Formula: see text] compared to the cells grown on CH4/[Formula: see text] which do not have to cope with reactive N-compounds. The denitrifying genes nirk and norC showed high expression in H2/[Formula: see text] and CH4/[Formula: see text] grown cells compared to cells growing at µmax (with no limitation) while the norB gene showed downregulation in CH4/[Formula: see text] grown cells. These cells showed a strong upregulation of the genes in nitrate/nitrite assimilation. Our results demonstrate that strain SolV can perform ammonium oxidation producing nitrite. At high concentrations of ammonium this may results in toxic effects. However, at low oxygen concentrations strain SolV is able to reduce nitrite to N2O to cope with this toxicity.