• anaeorobic methanotroph;
  • anaerobic oxidation of methane;
  • methane seep;
  • mcrA;
  • quantitative fluorescent PCR


A quantitative fluorogenic PCR method for group-specific methyl coenzyme M reductase subunit A genes (mcrA) from methanotrophic archaea was established and applied to the characterization of microbial communities in anoxic methane seep sediments at the accretionary prism of the Nankai Trough. All of the previously identified subgroups of anaerobic methanotroph (ANME) mcrA genes were detected in the cores up to 25 cm below the seafloor, but distributional patterns of mcrA genes were found to differ according to depth. These findings suggest a distinct distribution of phylogenetically and physiologically diverse methanotrophic archaea that mediate methane oxidation in the anoxic sediments. This quantification method will contribute to future investigations of methanotrophic microbial ecosystems in anoxic marine sediments.