AbstractAnaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) carry out anaerobic oxidation of methane, thus playing a crucial role in the methane cycle. Previous genomic evidence indicates that multi-heme c-type cytochromes (MHCs) may facilitate the extracellular electron transfer (EET) from ANME to different electron sinks. Here, we provide experimental evidence supporting cytochrome-mediated EET for the reduction of metals and electrodes by ‘Candidatus Methanoperedens nitroreducens’, an ANME acclimated to nitrate reduction. Ferrous iron-targeted fluorescent assays, metatranscriptomics, and single-cell imaging suggest that ‘Ca. M. nitroreducens’ uses surface-localized redox-active cytochromes for metal reduction. Electrochemical and Raman spectroscopic analyses also support the involvement of c-type cytochrome-mediated EET for electrode reduction. Furthermore, several genes encoding menaquinone cytochrome type-c oxidoreductases and extracellular MHCs are differentially expressed when different electron acceptors are used.
Anaerobic methanotrophic (ANME) archaea can drive anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) using solid iron or manganese oxides as the electron acceptors, hypothetically via direct extracellular electron transfer (EET). This study investigated the response of Candidatus “Methanoperedens nitroreducens TS” (type strain), an ANME archaeon previously characterized to perform nitrate-dependent AOM, to an Fe(III)-amended condition over a prolonged period. Simultaneous consumption of methane and production of dissolved Fe(II) were observed for more than 500 days in the presence of Ca. “M. nitroreducens TS,” indicating that this archaeon can carry out Fe(III)-dependent AOM for a long period. Ca. “M. nitroreducens TS” possesses multiple multiheme c-type cytochromes (MHCs), suggesting that it may have the capability to reduce Fe(III) via EET. Intriguingly, most of these MHCs are orthologous to those identified in Candidatus “Methanoperedens ferrireducens,” an Fe(III)-reducing ANME archaeon. In contrast, the population of Ca. “M. nitroreducens TS” declined and was eventually replaced by Ca. “M. ferrireducens,” implying niche differentiation between these two ANME archaea in the environment.