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Mol Genet Genomics. 2006 Jul;276(1):41-55. Epub 2006 Apr 20.

Global transcriptional analysis of Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 under different nitrogen availabilities.

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Institut für Allgemeine Mikrobiologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24118, Kiel, Germany.


Certain archaeal species can fix molecular nitrogen under nitrogen limiting conditions although little is known about this process at either the genetic or molecular level. To address this on a genome-wide scale, transcriptional analysis was performed on the model methanogen Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 using DNA-microarrays. The genomic expression patterns for cells grown under nitrogen fixing conditions versus nitrogen sufficiency (10 mM ammonium) revealed that approximately 5% of all genes are differentially expressed. Besides a small set of genes previously known to be up-regulated under nitrogen limitation, 14 additional genes involved in nitrogen metabolism were identified plus 10 genes encoding potential transcriptional regulators, 13 genes involved in carbon metabolism, 3 genes in general stress response, 8 putative transporter genes, and an additional 21 genes with unknown function. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR experiments confirmed the differential expression of a subset of these genes. Promoter analysis revealed a palindromic DNA motif centered nearby the transcriptional start point for several genes up-regulated under nitrogen limitation. A bioinformatics study demonstrated the presence of this motif in the up-stream region of 52 genes genome-wide, the majority of which showed nitrogen dependent differential transcription. We therefore hypothesize that this DNA element is involved in nitrogen control in M. mazei where it may act as a binding site for a regulatory protein.

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