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Abstract

Haem-dependent catalase is an antioxidant enzyme that degrades HO, producing HO and O, and is common in aerobes. Catalase is present in some strictly anaerobic methane-producing archaea (methanogens), but the importance of catalase to the antioxidant system of methanogens is poorly understood. We report here that a survey of the sequenced genomes of methanogens revealed that the majority of species lack genes encoding catalase. Moreover, is a methanogen capable of synthesizing haem and encodes haem-dependent catalase in its genome; yet, cells lack detectable catalase activity. However, inducible expression of the haem-dependent catalase from (EcKatG) in the chromosome of resulted in a 100-fold increase in the endogenous catalase activity compared with uninduced cells. The increased catalase activity conferred a 10-fold increase in the resistance of EcKatG-induced cells to HO compared with uninduced cells. The EcKatG-induced cells were also able to grow when exposed to levels of HO that inhibited or killed uninduced cells. However, despite the significant increase in catalase activity, growth studies revealed that EcKatG-induced cells did not exhibit increased tolerance to O compared with uninduced cells. These results support the lack of catalase in the majority of methanogens, since methanogens are more likely to encounter O rather than high concentrations of HO in the natural environment. Catalase appears to be a minor component of the antioxidant system in methanogens, even those that are aerotolerant, including . Importantly, the experimental approach used here demonstrated the feasibility of engineering beneficial traits, such as HO tolerance, in methanogens.

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2014-02-01
2021-10-23
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