Ancient regulations

An international team has discovered that a regulatory process that turns on photosynthesis in plants at daybreak likely developed on Earth in ancient microbes 2.5 billion years ago, long before oxygen became available to life. The work revolves around methane-forming archea, methanogens, which thrive naturally without oxygen. The researchers discovered that the protein thioredoxin, which plays a major role in contemporary photosynthesis, could repair many of the methanogen's proteins when damaged by oxygen. The research opens new vistas on evolutionary microbiology but could also have implications for understanding the production of natural gas (methane).