Methanotrophs can express a cytoplasmic (soluble) methane monooxygenase (sMMO) or membrane-bound (particulate) methane monooxygenase (pMMO). Expression of these MMOs is strongly regulated by the availability of copper. Many methanotrophs have been found to synthesize a novel compound, methanobactin (Mb), that is responsible for the uptake of copper, and methanobactin produced by Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b plays a key role in controlling expression of MMO genes in this strain. As all known forms of methanobactin are structurally similar, it was hypothesized that methanobactin from one methanotroph may alter gene expression in another. When Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b was grown in the presence of 1 μM CuCl2, expression of mmoX, encoding a subunit of the hydroxylase component of sMMO, was very low. mmoX expression increased, however, when methanobactin from Methylocystis sp. strain SB2 (SB2-Mb) was added, as did whole-cell sMMO activity, but there was no significant change in the amount of copper associated with M. trichosporium OB3b. If M. trichosporium OB3b was grown in the absence of CuCl2, the mmoX expression level was high but decreased by several orders of magnitude if copper prebound to SB2-Mb (Cu-SB2-Mb) was added, and biomass-associated copper was increased. Exposure of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b to SB2-Mb had no effect on expression of mbnA, encoding the polypeptide precursor of methanobactin in either the presence or absence of CuCl2. mbnA expression, however, was reduced when Cu-SB2-Mb was added in both the absence and presence of CuCl2. These data suggest that methanobactin acts as a general signaling molecule in methanotrophs and that methanobactin “piracy” may be commonplace.