Lanthanides in Methylotrophy

Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2019;33:101-116. doi: 10.21775/cimb.033.101. Epub 2019 Jun 5.


Lanthanides were previously thought to be biologically inert owing to their low solubility; however, they have recently been shown to strongly impact the metabolism of methylotrophic bacteria. Leading efforts in this emergent field have demonstrated far-reaching impacts of lanthanide metabolism in biology; from the identification of novel roles of enzymes and pathways dependent on lanthanide-chemistry to the control of transcriptional regulatory networks to the modification of microbial community interactions. Even further, the recent discovery of lanthanide-dependent enzymes associated with multi-carbon metabolism in both methylotrophs and non-methylotrophs alike suggests that lanthanide biochemistry may be more widespread than initially thought. Current efforts aim to understand how lanthanide chemistry and lanthanide-dependent enzymes affect numerous ecosystems and metabolic functions. These efforts will likely have a profound impact on biotechnological processes involving methylotrophic communities and the biologically mediated recovery of these critical metals from a variety of waste streams while redefining our understanding of a fundamental set of metals in biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Biotechnology / trends
  • Ecosystem
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / drug effects
  • Lanthanoid Series Elements / chemistry
  • Lanthanoid Series Elements / pharmacology*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / drug effects
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics
  • Methane / metabolism*
  • Methanol / metabolism*


  • Lanthanoid Series Elements
  • Methane
  • Methanol