Analysis of the genome sequence of Methanoregula boonei strain 6A8, an acidophilic methanogen isolated from an ombrotrophic (rain-fed) peat bog, has revealed unique features that likely allow it to survive in acidic, nutrient-poor conditions. First, M. boonei is predicted to generate ATP using protons that are abundant in peat, rather than sodium ions that are scarce, and the sequence of a membrane-bound methyltransferase, believed to pump Na+ in all methanogens, shows differences in key amino acid residues. Further, perhaps reflecting the hypokalemic status of many peat bogs, M. boonei demonstrates redundancy in the predicted potassium uptake genes trk, kdp and kup, some of which may have been horizontally transferred to methanogens from bacteria, possibly Geobacter spp. Overall, the putative functions of the potassium uptake, ATPase and methyltransferase genes may, at least in part, explain the cosmopolitan success of group E1/E2 and related methanogenic archaea in acidic peat bogs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas