New Predictive Model for Gene Regulation of Methanogenesis of M. maripaludis

Methanogens catalyze the critical, methane-producing step (called methanogenesis) in the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. Scientists at ISB and University of Washington led a multi-institutional effort to generate the first predictive model for gene regulation of methanogenesis in a hydrogenotrophic methanogen, Methanococcus maripaludis. The research was published on Oct. 2, 2013, in the journal Genome Research. Most species of methanogens are hydrogenotrophic –meaning they use electrons from hydrogen gas (H2) to convert carbon dioxide to methane. While typically these microorganisms consume H2 at very high rates, under certain conditions the process can be reversed to produce H2 at high rates. This systems scale model provides a map for discovering and characterizing new genes involved in hydrogen and methane metabolism, to rationally steer these processes towards industrial applications