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Journal Article

Genome of Rice Cluster I Archaea—the Key Methane Producers in the Rice Rhizosphere


Erkel,  Christoph
Max Planck Society;

Kube,  Michael
High Throughput Technologies, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society;

Reinhard,  Richard
Max Planck Society;

Liesack,  Werner
Max Planck Society;

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Erkel, C., Kube, M., Reinhard, R., & Liesack, W. (2006). Genome of Rice Cluster I Archaea—the Key Methane Producers in the Rice Rhizosphere. Science, 313(5785), 370-372. doi:10.1126/science.1127062.

Cite as:
Rice fields are a global source of the greenhouse gas methane, which is produced by methanogenic archaea, and by methanogens of Rice Cluster I (RC-I) in particular. RC-I methanogens are not yet available in pure culture, and the mechanistic reasons for their prevalence in rice fields are unknown. We reconstructed a complete RC-I genome (3.18 megabases) using a metagenomic approach. Sequence analysis demonstrated an aerotolerant, H2/CO2-dependent lifestyle and enzymatic capacities for carbohydrate metabolism and assimilatory sulfate reduction, hitherto unknown among methanogens. These capacities and a unique set of antioxidant enzymes and DNA repair mechanisms as well as oxygen-insensitive enzymes provide RC-I with a selective advantage over other methanogens in its habitats, thereby explaining the prevalence of RC-I methanogens in the rice rhizosphere.