The central theme of research work carried out in the lab is the microbiology of methanotrophic and methylotrophic bacteria. These are bacteria which can grow on one-carbon (C1) compounds such as methane, methanol, methylated amines, methanesulfonate, dimethylsulfide and methyl chloride. Activities range from the enrichment, isolation and characterisation of novel organisms from a wide variety of environments including soils, seawater, hot springs, soda lakes and acidic peat bogs, through to their characterisation at the physiological, biochemical and molecular level. Key enzymes, particularly oxygenases and methyltransferases are being purified, the genes encoding these enzymes cloned and the regulation of expression of metabolic pathways is also being examined. The ecology of organisms is being studied using molecular biology and stable isotope and radioisotope techniques in order to establish the role of these bacteria in biogeochemical cycling of atmospheric trace gases and C1 compounds.
I welcome applications throughout the year from potential PhD candidates who have their own funding. Additionally, I have hosted a number of Independent Fellows and welcome enquiries from suitably qualified individuals.Contact Us
(For a full list- see Publications)
Vita, N., Platsaki, S., Baslé, A., Allen, S.J., Paterson, N.G., Crombie, A.T., Murrell, J.C., Waldron, K.J., Dennison, C (2015). A four-helix bundle stores copper for methane oxidation. Nature, 525, 140–143. doi:10.1038/nature14854
Lidbury, I.D.E.A., Murrell, J.C. and Chen, Y. (2015) TMA and TMAO are supplementary energy sources for a marine heterotroph: Implications for carbon and nitrogen cycling. The ISME Journal 9, 760-769. doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.149
Crombie, A.T., El Khawand, M., Rhodius, V.A., Fengler, K.A., Miller, M.C., Whited, G.M., McGenity, T.J. and J. Colin Murrell, J.C. (2015) Regulation of plasmid-encoded isoprene metabolism in Rhodococcus, a representative of an important link in the global isoprene cycle. Environmental Microbiology, 17, 3314-3329. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12793
Sigdel, S., Hui, G., Smith, T.J., Murrell, J.C. and Lee, Y-K. (2015) Molecular dynamics simulation to rationalize regioselective hydroxylation of aromatic substrates by soluble methane monooxygenase. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters 25, 1611-1615. doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2015.01.069
McNamara, N.P., Gregg R., Oakley S., Stott A.S., Rahman, Md. T., Murrell J.C., Wardle, D., Bardgett R.D., Ostle N. et al (2015) Soil methane sink capacity response to a long-term wildfire chronosequence in northern Sweden. PLOS One 10 (9) e0129892
Nichol, T., Murrell, J.C., Smith, T.J. (2015) Controlling the activities of the diiron centre in bacterial monooxygenases: lessons from mutagenesis and biodiversity. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 21, 3419-3431. DOI: 10.1002/ejic.201500043
Grob, C, Taubert, M, Howat, AM, Burns, OJ, Dixon, JL, Richnow, H, Jehmlich, N, von Bergen, M, Chen, Y, and Murrell, JC (2015) Combining metagenomics with metaproteomics and stable isotope probing reveals metabolic pathways used by a naturally occurring marine methylotroph. Environmental Microbiology 17, 4007-4018. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12935
Taubert, M, Grob, C., Howat, AM, Burns, OJ, Dixon, JL, Chen, Y, and Murrell, JC (2015) XoxF encoding an alternative methanol dehydrogenase is widespread in coastal marine environments. Environmental Microbiology 17, 3937-3948. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12896
Lidbury, I., Kimberley, G., Scanlan, D.J., Murrell, J.C. and Chen, Y. (2015) Comparative genomics and mutagenesis analyses of choline metabolism in the marine Roseobacter clade bacteria. Environmental Microbiology Reports (in press) doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12943
Crombie, A. T. and Murrell, J.C. (2014) Trace gas metabolic versatility of the facultative methanotroph Methylocella silvestris. Nature, 510, 148-151. DOI: 10.1038/nature13192
Lidbury, I., Murrell, J.C. and Chen, Y. (2014) Trimethylamine N-oxide metabolism by abundant marine heterotrophic bacteria Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 111, 2710-2715. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1317834111
Kumaresan, D., Wischer, D., Stephenson, J., Hillebrand-Voiculescu, A., and Murrell, J.C. (2014) Microbiology of Movile Cave- a chemolithoautotrophic ecosystem. Geomicrobiology 31, 186–193. DOI: 10.1080/01490451.2013.839764
Wischer, D., Kumaresan, D., Johnston, A., El Khawand, M., Stephenson, J., Hillebrand-Voiculescu, A.M., Chen, Y. and Murrell, J.C. (2014) Identification and characterization of active methylamine degrading bacteria in Movile Cave. The ISME Journal, 9, 195-206. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2014.102
Dixon, J.L., Sargeant, S., Nightingale, P.D. and Murrell, J.C. (2013) Gradients in microbial methanol uptake: productive coastal upwelling waters to oligotrophic gyres in the Atlantic Ocean. The ISME Journal, 7, 568-580. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2012.130
Antony, C.P., Kumaresan, D., Hunger, S., Drake, H.L., Murrell, J.C. and Shouche, Y.S. (2013) Microbiology of Lonar Lake and other soda lakes. ISME Journal, 7, 469-476.
Nazaries, L., Murrell, J.C., Millard, P., Baggs, L. and Singh, B.K. (2013) Methane, microbes and models: Fundamental understanding of the soil methane cycle for future predictions. Environmental Microbiology, 15, 2395-2417. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12149
Nazaries, L., Murrell, J.C., Millard, P., Baggs, L. and Singh, B.K. (2013) Evidence of microbial regulation of biogeochemical cycles from a study on methane flux and land-use change. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79, 4031-4040. (ASM Highlighted paper) DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00095-13
Semrau, J.D., Jagadevan, S., DiSpirito, A.A., Khalifa, A., Scanlan, J, Bergman, B.H., Freemeier, B.C., Barai, B.S., Bandow, N.L., Vorobev, A., Haft, D.D. Vuilleumier, S. and Murrell, J.C. (2013) Methanobactin and MmoD work in concert to act as the “copper-switch” in methanotrophs. Environmental Microbiology 15, 3077-3086. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12150
Alaska EPSCoR lecture by Colin Murrell on "Fighting Climate Change with Microbiology".
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