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Detection and localization of two hydrogenases in Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) and their potential role in methane metabolism



Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) was shown to contain two distinct hydrogenases, a soluble hydrogenase and a membrane-bound hydrogenase. This is the first report of a membrane-bound hydrogenase in methanotrophs. Both enzymes were expressed apparently constitutively under normal growth conditions. The soluble hydrogenase was capable of reducing NAD(+) with molecular hydrogen. The activities of both soluble and particulate methane monooxygenases could be driven by molecular hydrogen. This confirmed that molecular hydrogen could be used as a source of reducing power for methane oxidation. Hydrogen-driven methane monooxygenase activities tolerated elevated temperatures and moderate oxygen concentrations. The significance of these findings for biotechnological applications of methanotrophs is discussed

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