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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017 Dec;101(23-24):8499-8516. doi: 10.1007/s00253-017-8572-2. Epub 2017 Oct 14.

Copper and cerium-regulated gene expression in Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2125, USA.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2125, USA.


In aerobic methanotrophs, copper and cerium control the expression and activity of different forms of methane monooxygenase and methanol dehydrogenase, respectively. To exploit methanotrophy for the valorization of methane, it is crucial to determine if these metals exert more global control on gene expression in methanotrophs. Using RNA-Seq analysis we compared the transcriptome of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b grown in the presence of varying amounts of copper and cerium. When copper was added in the absence of cerium, expression of genes encoding for both soluble and particulate methane monooxygenases varied as expected. Genes encoding for copper uptake, storage, and efflux also increased, indicating that methanotrophs must carefully control copper homeostasis. When cerium was added in the absence of copper, expression of genes encoding for alternative methanol dehydrogenases varied as expected, but few other genes were found to have differential expression. When cerium concentrations were varied in the presence of copper, few genes were found to be either up- or downregulated, indicating that copper over rules any regulation by cerium. When copper was increased in the presence of cerium, however, many genes were upregulated, most notably multiple steps of the central methane oxidation pathway, the serine cycle, and the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway. Many genes were also downregulated, including those encoding for nitrogenase and hydrogenase. Collectively, these data suggest that copper plays a larger role in regulating gene expression in methanotrophs, but that significant changes occur when both copper and cerium are present.


Cerium; Copper; Methanotrophs; RNA-Seq; RT-qPCR

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