The genome of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, a model organism of the Crenarchaeota

L.M. Chen, K. Brugger, Marie Skovgaard, P. Redder, Q.X. She, E. Torarinsson, B. Greve, M. Awayez, A. Zibat, H.P. Klenk, R.A. Garrett

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    Sulfolobus acidocaldarius is an aerobic thermoacidophilic crenarchaeon which grows optimally at 80 degrees C and pH 2 in terrestrial solfataric springs. Here, we describe the genome sequence of strain DSM639, which has been used for many seminal studies on archaeal and crenarchaeal biology. The circular genome carries 2,225,959 bp (37% G+C) with 2,292 predicted protein-encoding genes. Many of the smaller genes were identified for the first time on the basis of comparison of three Sulfolobus genome sequences. Of the protein-coding genes, 305 are exclusive to S. acidocaldarius and 866 are specific to the Sulfolobus genus. Moreover, 82 genes for untranslated RNAs were identified and annotated. Owing to the probable absence of active autonomous and nonautonomous mobile elements, the genome stability and organization of S. acidocaldarius differ radically from those of Sulfolobus solfataricus and Sulfolobus tokodaii. The S. acidocaldarius genome contains an integrated, and probably encaptured, pARN-type conjugative plasmid which may facilitate intercellular chromosomal gene exchange in S. acidocaldarius. Moreover, it contains genes for a characteristic restriction modification system, a UV damage excision repair system, thermopsin, and an aromatic ring dioxygenase, all of which are absent from genomes of other Sulfolobus species. However, it lacks genes for some of their sugar transporters, consistent with it growing on a more limited range of carbon sources. These results, together with the many newly identified protein-coding genes for Sulfolobus, are incorporated into a public Sulfolobus database which can be accessed at
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Bacteriology
    Issue number14
    Pages (from-to)4992-4999
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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