Preliminary Metabolic Reconstruction of Two Methane Producing Microbes: Methanoregula boonei 6A8 and Methanosphaerula palustris E1-9c
Methane (CH4) is very important in the environment as it is a greenhouse gas and important for the degradation of organic matter. During the last 200 years the atmospheric concentration of CH4 has tripled. Methanogens are methane-producing microbes from the Archaea domain that complete the final step in breaking down organic matter to generate methane through a process called methanogenesis. They contribute to about 74% of the CH4 present on the Earth's atmosphere, producing 1 billion tons of methane annually. The purpose of this work is to generate a preliminary metabolic reconstruction model of two methanogens: Methanoregula boonei 6A8 and Methanosphaerula palustris E1-9c. M. boonei and M. palustris are part of the Methanomicrobiales order and perform hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, which means that they reduce CO2 to CH4 by using H2 as their major electron donor. Metabolic models are frameworks for understanding a cell as a system and they provide the means to assess the changes in gene regulation in response in various environmental and physiological constraints. The Pathway-Tools software v16 was used to generate these draft models. The models were manually curated using literature searches, the KEGG database and homology methods with the Methanosarcina acetivorans strain, the closest methanogen strain with a nearly complete metabolic reconstruction. These preliminary models attempt to complete the pathways required for amino acid biosynthesis, methanogenesis, and major cofactors related to methanogenesis. The M. boonei reconstruction currently includes 99 pathways and has 82% of its reactions completed, while the M. palustris reconstruction includes 102 pathways and has 89% of its reactions completed.