Development of genetic methods and construction of a chromosomal glnK 1 mutant in Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1

Claudia Ehlers, Katrin Weidenbach, Katharina Veit, Uwe Deppenmeier, William W. Metcalf, Ruth A. Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 has so far proven to be genetically intractable due to its low plating efficiency on solid medium and the lack of an effective transformation method. Here, we report the first significant improvement in plating efficiency (up to 10%), which was achieved by (1) selecting for a spontaneous mutant of M. mazei that shows significantly higher resistance to mechanical stress during spreading an agar plates, and (2) plating the cells in 0.5% top agar with trimethylamine as a carbon and energy source under a H2S-containing atmosphere (0.1%). Using this mutant we succeeded in establishing a liposome-mediated transformation protocol, which for the first time allowed genetic manipulation of the M. mazei Gö1 strain. We further report on the construction of the first chromosomal deletion mutant of M. mazei by means of homologous recombination. Characterization of this mutant strain revealed that M. mazei cells lacking a functional glnK1-gene exhibited a partial growth defect under nitrogen limitation when molecular nitrogen was used as the sole nitrogen source. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis, however, showed that genes involved in nitrogen assimilation or nitrogen fixation are transcribed in the glnK1 mutant as in the wild type. Thus, we propose that the archaeal GlnK1 protein is not directly involved in the transcriptional regulation of genes involved in nitrogen metabolism, but rather affects their protein products directly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-298
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • GlnK
  • Liposome-meditated transformation
  • Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1
  • Nitrogen control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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