Revealing the community and metabolic potential of active methanotrophs by targeted metagenomics in the Zoige wetland of the Tibetan Plateau

Juanli Yun, Andrew T. Crombie, Muhammad Farhan Ul Haque, Yuanfeng Cai, Xiaowei Zheng, Jian Wang, Zhongjun Jia, J. Colin Murrell, Yanfen Wang, Wenbin Du

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The Zoige wetland of the Tibetan Plateau is one of the largest alpine wetlands in the world and a major emission source of methane. Methane oxidation by methanotrophs can counteract the global warming effect of methane released in the wetlands. Understanding methanotroph activity, diversity and metabolism at the molecular level can guide the isolation of the uncultured microorganisms and inform strategy-making decisions and policies to counteract global warming in this unique ecosystem. Here we applied DNA stable isotope probing using 13C-labelled methane to label the genomes of active methanotrophs, examine the methane oxidation potential and recover metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of active methanotrophs. We found that gammaproteobacteria of type I methanotrophs are responsible for methane oxidation in the wetland. We recovered two phylogenetically novel methanotroph MAGs distantly related to extant Methylobacter and Methylovulum. They belong to type I methanotrophs of gammaproteobacteria, contain both mxaF and xoxF types of methanol dehydrogenase coding genes, and participate in methane oxidation via H 4MPT and RuMP pathways. Overall, the community structure of active methanotrophs and their methanotrophic pathways revealed by DNA-SIP metagenomics and retrieved methanotroph MAGs highlight the importance of methanotrophs in suppressing methane emission in the wetland under the scenario of global warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6520-6535
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number11
Early online date14 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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