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Volume 2011, Article ID 973848, 23 pages
Review Article

More Than 200 Genes Required for Methane Formation from H2 and CO2 and Energy Conservation Are Present in Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus

1Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, 35043 Marburg, Germany
2Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis MO 63108, USA
3Göttingen Genomics Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg August University, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

Received 24 August 2010; Revised 7 December 2010; Accepted 18 February 2011

Academic Editor: Todd M. Lowe

Copyright © 2011 Anne-Kristin Kaster et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The hydrogenotrophic methanogens Methanothermobacter marburgensis and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus can easily be mass cultured. They have therefore been used almost exclusively to study the biochemistry of methanogenesis from H2 and CO2, and the genomes of these two model organisms have been sequenced. The close relationship of the two organisms is reflected in their genomic architecture and coding potential. Within the 1,607 protein coding sequences (CDS) in common, we identified approximately 200 CDS required for the synthesis of the enzymes, coenzymes, and prosthetic groups involved in CO2 reduction to methane and in coupling this process with the phosphorylation of ADP. Approximately 20 additional genes, such as those for the biosynthesis of F430 and methanofuran and for the posttranslational modifications of the two methyl-coenzyme M reductases, remain to be identified.