Methanogenic archaea are a unique group of strictly anaerobic microorganisms characterized by their ability, and dependence, to convert simple C1 and C2 compounds to methane for growth. The major models for studying the biology of methanogens are members of the Methanococcus and Methanosarcina species. Recent development of sophisticated tools for molecular analysis and for genetic manipulation allows investigating not only their metabolism but also their cell cycle, and their interaction with the environment in great detail. One aspect of such analyses is assessment and dissection of methanoarchaeal gene regulation, for which, at present, only a handful of cases have been investigated thoroughly, partly due to the great methodological effort required. However, it becomes more and more evident that many new regulatory paradigms can be unraveled in this unique archaeal group. Here, we report both molecular and physiological/genetic methods to assess gene regulation in Methanococcus maripaludis and Methanosarcina acetivorans, which should, however, be applicable for other methanogens as well.
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