To understand the physiological basis of methanogenic archaea living on interspecies H(2) transfer, the protein expression of a hydrogenotrophic methanogen, Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus strain ΔH, was investigated in both pure culture and syntrophic coculture with an anaerobic butyrate oxidizer Syntrophothermus lipocalidus strain TGB-C1 as an H(2) supplier. Comparative proteomic analysis showed that global protein expression of methanogen cells in the model coculture was substantially different from that of pure cultured cells. In brief, in syntrophic coculture, although methanogenesis-driven energy generation appeared to be maintained by shifting the pathway to the alternative methyl coenzyme M reductase isozyme I and cofactor F(420)-dependent process, the machinery proteins... involved in carbon fixation, amino acid synthesis, and RNA/DNA metabolisms tended to be down-regulated, indicating restrained cell growth rather than vigorous proliferation. In addition, our proteome analysis revealed that α subunits of proteasome were differentially acetylated between the two culture conditions. Since the relevant modification has been suspected to regulate proteolytic activity of the proteasome, the global protein turnover rate could be controlled under syntrophic growth conditions. To our knowledge, the present study is the first report on N-acetylation of proteasome subunits in methanogenic archaea. These results clearly indicated that physiological adaptation of hydrogenotrophic methanogens to syntrophic growth is more complicated than that of hitherto proposed.