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1.  The genome of Hyperthermus butylicus: a sulfur-reducing, peptide fermenting, neutrophilic Crenarchaeote growing up to 108 °C 
Archaea  2007;2(2):127-135.
Hyperthermus butylicus, a hyperthermophilic neutrophile and anaerobe, is a member of the archaeal kingdom Crenarchaeota. Its genome consists of a single circular chromosome of 1,667,163 bp with a 53.7% G+C content. A total of 1672 genes were annotated, of which 1602 are protein-coding, and up to a third are specific to H. butylicus. In contrast to some other crenarchaeal genomes, a high level of GUG and UUG start codons are predicted. Two cdc6 genes are present, but neither could be linked unambiguously to an origin of replication. Many of the predicted metabolic gene products are associated with the fermentation of peptide mixtures including several peptidases with diverse specificities, and there are many encoded transporters. Most of the sulfur-reducing enzymes, hydrogenases and electron-transfer proteins were identified which are associated with energy production by reducing sulfur to H2S. Two large clusters of regularly interspaced repeats (CRISPRs) are present, one of which is associated with a crenarchaeal-type cas gene superoperon; none of the spacer sequences yielded good sequence matches with known archaeal chromosomal elements. The genome carries no detectable transposable or integrated elements, no inteins, and introns are exclusive to tRNA genes. This suggests that the genome structure is quite stable, possibly reflecting a constant, and relatively uncompetitive, natural environment.
PMCID: PMC2686385  PMID: 17350933
anaerobe; genome analysis; hyperthermophile; solfataric habitat
2.  A putative viral defence mechanism in archaeal cells 
Archaea  2006;2(1):59-72.
Clusters of regularly spaced direct repeats, separated by unconserved spacer sequences, are ubiquitous in archaeal chromosomes and occur in some plasmids. Some clusters constitute around 1% of chromosomal DNA. Similarly structured clusters, generally smaller, also occur in some bacterial chromosomes. Although early studies implicated these clusters in segregation/partition functions, recent evidence suggests that the spacer sequences derive from extrachromosomal elements, and, primarily, viruses. This has led to the proposal that the clusters provide a defence against viral propagation in cells, and that both the mode of inhibition of viral propagation and the mechanism of adding spacer-repeat units to clusters, are dependent on RNAs transcribed from the clusters. Moreover, the putative inhibitory apparatus (piRNA-based) may be evolutionarily related to the interference RNA systems (siRNA and miRNA), which are common in eukarya. Here, we analyze all the current data on archaeal repeat clusters and provide some new insights into their diverse structures, transcriptional properties and mode of structural development. The results are consistent with larger cluster transcripts being processed at the centers of the repeat sequences and being further trimmed by exonucleases to yield a dominant, intracellular RNA species, which corresponds approximately to the size of a spacer. Furthermore, analysis of the extensive clusters of Sulfolobus solfataricus strains P1 and P2B provides support for the presence of a flanking sequence adjoining a cluster being a prerequisite for the incorporation of new spacer-repeat units, which occurs between the flanking sequence and the cluster. An archaeal database summarizing the data will be maintained at http://dac.molbio.ku.dk/dbs/SRSR/.
PMCID: PMC2685585  PMID: 16877322
archaeal genomes; piRNA; plasmids; SRSR-CRISPR; viruses

Results 1-2 (2)