Copper methanobactin: a molecule whose time has come

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian*, Amy C. Rosenzweig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Copper plays a key role in the physiology of methanotrophs. One way that these bacteria meet their high copper requirement is by the biosynthesis and release of high affinity copper binding compounds called methanobactins. Recent advances in methanobactin characterization include the first crystal structure, detailed spectroscopic analyses, and studies of metal ion specificity. Methanobactin may function in copper uptake, regulation of methane monooxygenase expression, protection against copper toxicity, and particulate methane monooxygenase activity. Methanobactin can extract copper from insoluble minerals and could be important for mineral weathering. Many methanobactin properties are reminiscent of iron siderophores, suggesting a similar mechanism of handling. Methanobactin-like compounds have also been identified in yeast mitochondria, suggesting that these molecules are a more universal phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-249
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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