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Journal Article

Starvation and recovery in the deep-sea methanotroph Methyloprofundus sedimenti


Dubilier,  Nicole
Department of Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Tavormina, P. L., Kellermann, M. Y., Antony, C. P., Tocheva, E. I., Dalleska, N. F., Jensen, A. J., et al. (2017). Starvation and recovery in the deep-sea methanotroph Methyloprofundus sedimenti. MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY, 103(2), 242-252. doi:10.1111/mmi.13553.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C204-F
In the deep ocean, the conversion of methane into derived carbon and energy drives the establishment of diverse faunal communities. Yet specific biological mechanisms underlying the introduction of methane-derived carbon into the food web remain poorly described, due to a lack of cultured representative deep-sea methanotrophic prokaryotes. Here, the response of the deep-sea aerobic methanotroph Methyloprofundus sedimenti to methane starvation and recovery was characterized. By combining lipid analysis, RNA analysis, and electron cryotomography, it was shown that M. sedimenti undergoes discrete cellular shifts in response to methane starvation, including changes in headgroup-specific fatty acid saturation levels, and reductions in cytoplasmic storage granules. Methane starvation is associated with a significant increase in the abundance of gene transcripts pertinent to methane oxidation. Methane reintroduction to starved cells stimulates a rapid, transient extracellular accumulation of methanol, revealing a way in which methane-derived carbon may be routed to community members. This study provides new understanding of methanotrophic responses to methane starvation and recovery, and lays the initial groundwork to develop Methyloprofundus as a model chemosynthesizing bacterium from the deep sea.