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Identification of active methanotrophs in a landfill cover soil through detection of expression of 16S rRNA and functional genes

Chen, Yin, Dumont, Marc G., Cébron, Aurélie, Murrell, J. Colin
Environmental microbiology 2007 v.9 no.11 pp. 2855-2869
Methylobacter, Methylocella, Methylocystis, Methylomonas, Methylosarcina, complementary DNA, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, gene expression, genes, landfills, messenger RNA, methane, methanol, methanotrophs, oxidation, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal RNA, soil
Active methanotrophs in a landfill soil were revealed by detecting the 16S rRNA of methanotrophs and the mRNA transcripts of key genes involved in methane oxidation. New 16S rRNA primers targeting type I and type II methanotrophs were designed and optimized for analysis by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Direct extraction of RNA from soil enabled the analysis of the expression of the functional genes: mmoX, pmoA and mxaF, which encode subunits of soluble methane monooxygenase, particulate methane monooxygenase and methanol dehydrogenase respectively. The 16S rRNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers for type I methanotrophs detected Methylomonas, Methylosarcina and Methylobacter sequences from both soil DNA and cDNA which was generated from RNA extracted directly from the landfill cover soil. The 16S rRNA primers for type II methanotrophs detected primarily Methylocella and some Methylocystis 16S rRNA genes. Phylogenetic analysis of mRNA recovered from the soil indicated that Methylobacter, Methylosarcina, Methylomonas, Methylocystis and Methylocella were actively expressing genes involved in methane and methanol oxidation. Transcripts of pmoA but not mmoX were readily detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), indicating that particulate methane monooxygenase may be largely responsible for methane oxidation in situ.