A Genome-Scale Metabolic Model of Methanoperedens nitroreducens: Assessing Bioenergetics and Thermodynamic Feasibility

Bingqing He, Chen Cai, Tim McCubbin, Jorge Carrasco Muriel, Nikolaus Sonnenschein, Shihu Hu, Zhiguo Yuan, Esteban Marcellin

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Methane is an abundant low-carbon fuel that provides a valuable energy resource, but it is also a potent greenhouse gas. Therefore, anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is an essential process with central features in controlling the carbon cycle. Candidatus 'Methanoperedens nitroreducens' (M. nitroreducens) is a recently discovered methanotrophic archaeon capable of performing AOM via a reverse methanogenesis pathway utilizing nitrate as the terminal electron acceptor. Recently, reverse methanogenic pathways and energy metabolism among anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME) have gained significant interest. However, the energetics and the mechanism for electron transport in nitrate-dependent AOM performed by M. nitroreducens is unclear. This paper presents a genome-scale metabolic model of M. nitroreducens, iMN22HE, which contains 813 reactions and 684 metabolites. The model describes its cellular metabolism and can quantitatively predict its growth phenotypes. The essentiality of the cytoplasmic heterodisulfide reductase HdrABC in the reverse methanogenesis pathway is examined by modeling the electron transfer direction and the specific energy-coupling mechanism. Furthermore, based on better understanding electron transport by modeling, a new energy transfer mechanism is suggested. The new mechanism involves reactions capable of driving the endergonic reactions in nitrate-dependent AOM, including the step reactions in reverse canonical methanogenesis and the novel electron-confurcating reaction HdrABC. The genome metabolic model not only provides an in silico tool for understanding the fundamental metabolism of ANME but also helps to better understand the reverse methanogenesis energetics and its thermodynamic feasibility.
Original languageEnglish
Article number314
Issue number4
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Genome-scale metabolic model
  • ANME archaea
  • Reverse methanogenesis
  • Bioenergetics
  • Electron transfer
  • Thermodynamic feasability


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