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1.  Identification of the gene for disaggregatase from Methanosarcina mazei  
Archaea  2008;2(3):185-191.
The gene sequences encoding disaggregatase (Dag), the enzyme responsible for dispersion of cell aggregates of Methanosarcina mazei to single cells, were determined for three strains of M. mazei (S-6T, LYC and TMA). The dag genes of the three strains were 3234 bp in length and had almost the same sequences with 97% amino acid sequence identities. Dag was predicted to comprise 1077 amino acid residues and to have a molecular mass of 120 kDa containing three repeats of the DNRLRE domain in the C terminus, which is specific to the genus Methanosarcina and may be responsible for structural organization and cell wall function. Recombinant Dag was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and preparations of the expressed protein exhibited enzymatic activity. The RT-PCR analysis showed that dag was transcribed to mRNA in M. mazei LYC and indicated that the gene was expressed in vivo. This is the first time the gene involved in the morphological change of Methanosarcina spp. from aggregate to single cells has been identified.
PMCID: PMC2685598  PMID: 19054745
methanochondroitin; morphological change
2.  Succession of methanogenic archaea in rice straw incorporated into a Japanese rice field: estimation by PCR-DGGE and sequence analyses 
Archaea  2005;1(6):391-397.
The succession and phylogenetic profiles of methanogenic archaeal communities associated with rice straw decomposition in rice-field soil were studied by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analysis followed by 16S rDNA sequencing. Nylon bags containing either leaf sheaths or blades were buried in the plowed layer of a Japanese rice field under drained conditions during the off-crop season and under flooded conditions after transplanting. In addition, rice straw samples that had been buried in the rice field under drained conditions during the off-crop season were temporarily removed during spring plowing and then re-buried in the same rice field under flooded conditions at transplanting. Populations of methanogenic archaea were examined by amplification of the 16S rRNA genes in the DNA extracted from the rice straw samples. No PCR product was produced for samples of leaf sheath or blade prior to burial or after burial under drained conditions, indicating that the methanogen population was very small during decomposition of rice straw under oxic conditions. Many common bands were observed in rice straw samples of leaf sheath and blade during decomposition of rice straw under flooded conditions. Cluster analysis based on DGGE patterns divided methanogenic archaeal communities into two groups before and after the mid-season drainage. Sequence analysis of DGGE bands that were commonly present were closely related to Methanomicrobiales and Rice cluster I. Methanomicrobiales, Rice cluster I and Methanosarcinales were major members before the mid-season drainage, whereas the DGGE bands that characterized methanogenic archaeal communities after the mid-season drainage were closely related to Methanomicrobiales. These results indicate that mid-season drainage affected the methanogenic archaeal communities irrespective of their location on rice straw (sheath and blade) and the previous history of decomposition during the off-crop season.
PMCID: PMC2685580  PMID: 16243779
decomposition; methanogen; paddy field soil; phylogenetic profile

Results 1-2 (2)