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1.  Biofilm formation of mucosa-associated methanoarchaeal strains 
Although in nature most microorganisms are known to occur predominantly in consortia or biofilms, data on archaeal biofilm formation are in general scarce. Here, the ability of three methanoarchaeal strains, Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosphaera stadtmanae, which form part of the human gut microbiota, and the Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 to grow on different surfaces and form biofilms was investigated. All three strains adhered to the substrate mica and grew predominantly as bilayers on its surface as demonstrated by confocal laser scanning microscopy analyses, though the formation of multi-layered biofilms of Methanosphaera stadtmanae and Methanobrevibacter smithii was observed as well. Stable biofilm formation was further confirmed by scanning electron microscopy analysis. Methanosarcina mazei and Methanobrevibacter smithii also formed multi-layered biofilms in uncoated plastic μ-dishesTM, which were very similar in morphology and reached a height of up to 40 μm. In contrast, biofilms formed by Methanosphaera stadtmanae reached only a height of 2 μm. Staining with the two lectins ConA and IB4 indicated that all three strains produced relatively low amounts of extracellular polysaccharides most likely containing glucose, mannose, and galactose. Taken together, this study provides the first evidence that methanoarchaea can develop and form biofilms on different substrates and thus, will contribute to our knowledge on the appearance and physiological role of Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosphaera stadtmanae in the human intestine.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00353
PMCID: PMC4086402  PMID: 25071757
biofilms; methanoarchaea; human gut; microbiota
2.  Establishing a Markerless Genetic Exchange System for Methanosarcina mazei Strain Gö1 for Constructing Chromosomal Mutants of Small RNA Genes 
Archaea  2011;2011:439608.
A markerless genetic exchange system was successfully established in Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 using the hpt gene coding for hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase. First, a chromosomal deletion mutant of the hpt gene was generated conferring resistance to the purine analog 8-aza-2,6-diaminopurine (8-ADP). The nonreplicating allelic exchange vector (pRS345) carrying the pac-resistance cassette for direct selection of chromosomal integration, and the hpt gene for counterselection was introduced into this strain. By a pop-in and ultimately pop-out event of the plasmid from the chromosome, allelic exchange is enabled. Using this system, we successfully generated a M. mazei deletion mutant of the gene encoding the regulatory non-coding RNA sRNA154. Characterizing M. mazeiΔsRNA154 under nitrogen limiting conditions demonstrated differential expression of at least three cytoplasmic proteins and reduced growth strongly arguing for a prominent role of sRNA154 in regulation of nitrogen fixation by posttranscriptional regulation.
doi:10.1155/2011/439608
PMCID: PMC3177094  PMID: 21941461
3.  Effects of Nitrogen and Carbon Sources on Transcription of Soluble Methyltransferases in Methanosarcina mazei Strain Gö1† 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(17):6147-6154.
The methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 uses versatile carbon sources and is able to fix molecular nitrogen with methanol as carbon and energy sources. Here, we demonstrate that when growing on trimethylamine (TMA), nitrogen fixation does not occur, indicating that ammonium released during TMA degradation is sufficient to serve as a nitrogen source and represses nif gene induction. We further report on the transcriptional regulation of soluble methyltransferases, which catalyze the initial step of methylamine consumption by methanogenesis, in response to different carbon and nitrogen sources. Unexpectedly, we obtained conclusive evidence that transcription of the mtmB2C2 operon, encoding a monomethylamine (MMA) methyltransferase and its corresponding corrinoid protein, is highly increased under nitrogen limitation when methanol serves as a carbon source. In contrast, transcription of the homologous mtmB1C1 operon is not affected by the nitrogen source but appears to be increased when TMA is the sole carbon and energy source. In general, transcription of operons encoding dimethylamine (DMA) and TMA methyltransferases and methylcobalamine:coenzyme M methyltransferases is not regulated in response to the nitrogen source. However, in all cases transcription of one of the homologous operons or genes is increased by TMA or its degradation products DMA and MMA.
doi:10.1128/JB.187.17.6147-6154.2005
PMCID: PMC1196137  PMID: 16109956
4.  Functional organization of a single nif cluster in the mesophilic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 
Archaea  2002;1(2):143-150.
The mesophilic methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 is able to utilize molecular nitrogen (N2) as its sole nitrogen source. We have identified and characterized a single nitrogen fixation (nif) gene cluster in M. mazei Gö1 with an approximate length of 9 kbp. Sequence analysis revealed seven genes with sequence similarities to nifH, nifI1, nifI2, nifD, nifK, nifE and nifN, similar to other diazotrophic methanogens and certain bacteria such as Clostridium acetobutylicum, with the two glnB-like genes (nifI1 and nifI2) located between nifH and nifD. Phylogenetic analysis of deduced amino acid sequences for the nitrogenase structural genes of M. mazei Gö1 showed that they are most closely related to Methanosarcina barkeri nif2 genes, and also closely resemble those for the corresponding nif products of the gram-positive bacterium C. acetobutylicum. Northern blot analysis and reverse transcription PCR analysis demonstrated that the M. mazei nif genes constitute an operon transcribed only under nitrogen starvation as a single 8 kb transcript. Sequence analysis revealed a palindromic sequence at the transcriptional start site in front of the M. mazei nifH gene, which may have a function in transcriptional regulation of the nif operon.
PMCID: PMC2685556  PMID: 15803652
GlnB-like proteins; nif genes; nitrogen fixation; nitrogen regulation
6.  Characterization of GlnK1 from Methanosarcina mazei Strain Gö1: Complementation of an Escherichia coli glnK Mutant Strain by GlnK1 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(4):1028-1040.
Trimeric PII-like signal proteins are known to be involved in bacterial regulation of ammonium assimilation and nitrogen fixation. We report here the first biochemical characterization of an archaeal GlnK protein from the diazotrophic methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 and show that M. mazei GlnK1 is able to functionally complement an Escherichia coli glnK mutant for growth on arginine. This indicates that the archaeal GlnK protein substitutes for the regulatory function of E. coli GlnK. M. mazei GlnK1 is encoded in the glnK1-amtB1 operon, which is transcriptionally regulated by the availability of combined nitrogen and is only transcribed in the absence of ammonium. The deduced amino acid sequence of the archaeal glnK1 shows 44% identity to the E. coli GlnK and contains the conserved tyrosine residue (Tyr-51) in the T-loop structure. M. mazei glnK1 was cloned and overexpressed in E. coli, and GlnK1 was purified to apparent homogeneity. A molecular mass of 42 kDa was observed under native conditions, indicating that its native form is a trimer. GlnK1-specific antibodies were raised and used to confirm the in vivo trimeric form by Western analysis. In vivo ammonium upshift experiments and analysis of purified GlnK1 indicated significant differences compared to E. coli GlnK. First, GlnK1 from M. mazei is not covalently modified by uridylylation under nitrogen limitation. Second, heterotrimers between M. mazei GlnK1 and Klebsiella pneumoniae GlnK are not formed. Because M. mazei GlnK1 was able to complement growth of an E. coli glnK mutant with arginine as the sole nitrogen source, it is likely that uridylylation is not required for its regulatory function.
doi:10.1128/jb.184.4.1028-1040.2002
PMCID: PMC134814  PMID: 11807063

Results 1-6 (6)