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author:("ramps, Markus")
1.  Genome of the Haloarchaeon Natronomonas moolapensis, a Neutrophilic Member of a Previously Haloalkaliphilic Genus 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(2):e00095-13.
The genus Natronomonas contains two species, one haloalkaliphile (N. pharaonis) and one neutrophile (N. moolapensis). Here, we report the genome sequence of N. moolapensis strain 8.8.11. The overall genome properties are similar for the two species. Only the neutrophile contains bacteriorhodopsin and a membrane glycolipid.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00095-13
PMCID: PMC3623002  PMID: 23516216
2.  The Complete Genome Sequence of Thermoproteus tenax: A Physiologically Versatile Member of the Crenarchaeota 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e24222.
Here, we report on the complete genome sequence of the hyperthermophilic Crenarchaeum Thermoproteus tenax (strain Kra1, DSM 2078T) a type strain of the crenarchaeotal order Thermoproteales. Its circular 1.84-megabase genome harbors no extrachromosomal elements and 2,051 open reading frames are identified, covering 90.6% of the complete sequence, which represents a high coding density. Derived from the gene content, T. tenax is a representative member of the Crenarchaeota. The organism is strictly anaerobic and sulfur-dependent with optimal growth at 86°C and pH 5.6. One particular feature is the great metabolic versatility, which is not accompanied by a distinct increase of genome size or information density as compared to other Crenarchaeota. T. tenax is able to grow chemolithoautotrophically (CO2/H2) as well as chemoorganoheterotrophically in presence of various organic substrates. All pathways for synthesizing the 20 proteinogenic amino acids are present. In addition, two presumably complete gene sets for NADH:quinone oxidoreductase (complex I) were identified in the genome and there is evidence that either NADH or reduced ferredoxin might serve as electron donor. Beside the typical archaeal A0A1-ATP synthase, a membrane-bound pyrophosphatase is found, which might contribute to energy conservation. Surprisingly, all genes required for dissimilatory sulfate reduction are present, which is confirmed by growth experiments. Mentionable is furthermore, the presence of two proteins (ParA family ATPase, actin-like protein) that might be involved in cell division in Thermoproteales, where the ESCRT system is absent, and of genes involved in genetic competence (DprA, ComF) that is so far unique within Archaea.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024222
PMCID: PMC3189178  PMID: 22003381
3.  Haloquadratum walsbyi : Limited Diversity in a Global Pond 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20968.
Background
Haloquadratum walsbyi commonly dominates the microbial flora of hypersaline waters. Its cells are extremely fragile squares requiring >14%(w/v) salt for growth, properties that should limit its dispersal and promote geographical isolation and divergence. To assess this, the genome sequences of two isolates recovered from sites at near maximum distance on Earth, were compared.
Principal Findings
Both chromosomes are 3.1 MB in size, and 84% of each sequence was highly similar to the other (98.6% identity), comprising the core sequence. ORFs of this shared sequence were completely synteneic (conserved in genomic orientation and order), without inversion or rearrangement. Strain-specific insertions/deletions could be precisely mapped, often allowing the genetic events to be inferred. Many inferred deletions were associated with short direct repeats (4–20 bp). Deletion-coupled insertions are frequent, producing different sequences at identical positions. In cases where the inserted and deleted sequences are homologous, this leads to variant genes in a common synteneic background (as already described by others). Cas/CRISPR systems are present in C23T but have been lost in HBSQ001 except for a few spacer remnants. Numerous types of mobile genetic elements occur in both strains, most of which appear to be active, and with some specifically targetting others. Strain C23T carries two ∼6 kb plasmids that show similarity to halovirus His1 and to sequences nearby halovirus/plasmid gene clusters commonly found in haloarchaea.
Conclusions
Deletion-coupled insertions show that Hqr. walsbyi evolves by uptake and precise integration of foreign DNA, probably originating from close relatives. Change is also driven by mobile genetic elements but these do not by themselves explain the atypically low gene coding density found in this species. The remarkable genome conservation despite the presence of active systems for genome rearrangement implies both an efficient global dispersal system, and a high selective fitness for this species.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020968
PMCID: PMC3119063  PMID: 21701686
4.  Genome information management and integrated data analysis with HaloLex 
Archives of Microbiology  2008;190(3):281-299.
HaloLex is a software system for the central management, integration, curation, and web-based visualization of genomic and other -omics data for any given microorganism. The system has been employed for the manual curation of three haloarchaeal genomes, namely Halobacterium salinarum (strain R1), Natronomonas pharaonis, and Haloquadratum walsbyi. HaloLex, in particular, enables the integrated analysis of genome-wide proteomic results with the underlying genomic data. This has proven indispensable to generate reliable gene predictions for GC-rich genomes, which, due to their characteristically low abundance of stop codons, are known to be hard targets for standard gene finders, especially concerning start codon assignment. The proteomic identification of more than 600 N-terminal peptides has greatly increased the reliability of the start codon assignment for Halobacterium salinarum. Application of homology-based methods to the published genome of Haloarcula marismortui allowed to detect 47 previously unidentified genes (a problem that is particularly serious for short protein sequences) and to correct more than 300 start codon misassignments.
doi:10.1007/s00203-008-0389-z
PMCID: PMC2516542  PMID: 18592220
Halophilic archaea; Genome information system; Genome browser; Proteomics; Biological data curation; Start codon assignment; Dinucleotide bias
5.  The MIGenAS integrated bioinformatics toolkit for web-based sequence analysis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(Web Server issue):W15-W19.
We describe a versatile and extensible integrated bioinformatics toolkit for the analysis of biological sequences over the Internet. The web portal offers convenient interactive access to a growing pool of chainable bioinformatics software tools and databases that are centrally installed and maintained by the RZG. Currently, supported tasks comprise sequence similarity searches in public or user-supplied databases, computation and validation of multiple sequence alignments, phylogenetic analysis and protein–structure prediction. Individual tools can be seamlessly chained into pipelines allowing the user to conveniently process complex workflows without the necessity to take care of any format conversions or tedious parsing of intermediate results. The toolkit is part of the Max-Planck Integrated Gene Analysis System (MIGenAS) of the Max Planck Society available at (click ‘Start Toolkit’).
doi:10.1093/nar/gkl254
PMCID: PMC1538907  PMID: 16844980
6.  The genome of the square archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi : life at the limits of water activity 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:169.
Background
The square halophilic archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi dominates NaCl-saturated and MgCl2 enriched aquatic ecosystems, which imposes a serious desiccation stress, caused by the extremely low water activity. The genome sequence was analyzed and physiological and physical experiments were carried out in order to reveal how H. walsbyi has specialized into its narrow and hostile ecological niche and found ways to cope with the desiccation stress.
Results
A rich repertoire of proteins involved in phosphate metabolism, phototrophic growth and extracellular protective polymers, including the largest archaeal protein (9159 amino acids), a homolog to eukaryotic mucins, are amongst the most outstanding features. A relatively low GC content (47.9%), 15–20% less than in other halophilic archaea, and one of the lowest coding densities (76.5%) known for prokaryotes might be an indication for the specialization in its unique environment
Conclusion
Although no direct genetic indication was found that can explain how this peculiar organism retains its square shape, the genome revealed several unique adaptive traits that allow this organism to thrive in its specific and extreme niche.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-169
PMCID: PMC1544339  PMID: 16820047
7.  A blueprint of ectoine metabolism from the genome of the industrial producer Halomonas elongata DSM 2581T 
Environmental Microbiology  2011;13(8):1973-1994.
The halophilic γ-proteobacterium Halomonas elongata DSM 2581T thrives at high salinity by synthesizing and accumulating the compatible solute ectoine. Ectoine levels are highly regulated according to external salt levels but the overall picture of its metabolism and control is not well understood. Apart from its critical role in cell adaptation to halophilic environments, ectoine can be used as a stabilizer for enzymes and as a cell protectant in skin and health care applications and is thus produced annually on a scale of tons in an industrial process using H. elongata as producer strain. This paper presents the complete genome sequence of H. elongata (4 061 296 bp) and includes experiments and analysis identifying and characterizing the entire ectoine metabolism, including a newly discovered pathway for ectoine degradation and its cyclic connection to ectoine synthesis. The degradation of ectoine (doe) proceeds via hydrolysis of ectoine (DoeA) to Nα-acetyl-l-2,4-diaminobutyric acid, followed by deacetylation to diaminobutyric acid (DoeB). In H. elongata, diaminobutyric acid can either flow off to aspartate or re-enter the ectoine synthesis pathway, forming a cycle of ectoine synthesis and degradation. Genome comparison revealed that the ectoine degradation pathway exists predominantly in non-halophilic bacteria unable to synthesize ectoine. Based on the resulting genetic and biochemical data, a metabolic flux model of ectoine metabolism was derived that can be used to understand the way H. elongata survives under varying salt stresses and that provides a basis for a model-driven improvement of industrial ectoine production.
doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02336.x
PMCID: PMC3187862  PMID: 20849449

Results 1-7 (7)