Characterization of two novel haloalkaliphilic archaea Natronorubrum bangense gen. nov., sp. nov. and Natronorubrum tibetense gen. nov., sp. nov. (1/2228)

Two haloalkaliphilic archaea were isolated from a soda lake in Tibet. The two strains, designated A33T and GA33T, were Gram-negative, pleomorphic, flat, non-motile and strictly aerobic. Growth required at least 12% NaCl. Growth was between pH 8.0 and pH 11 with an optimum at pH 9.0-9.5. Cells were chemo-organotrophic. Polar lipids were C20-C25 derivatives of phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylglycerol phosphate. The nucleotide sequences of the 16S rRNA genes from the two strains were obtained by the analysis of the cloned rDNAs. On 16S rRNA phylogenetic trees, the two strains formed a monophyletic cluster. They differed from their closet neighbours, Halobacterium trapanicum and Natrialba asiatica, in polar lipid composition, as well as physiological and phenotypic characteristics. DNA-DNA hybridization indicated that the two strains belonged to different species of the same genus. The results indicated that the strains A33T and GA33T should be classified in a new genus Natronorubrum gen. nov. as Natronorubrum bangense sp. nov. (strain A33T) and Natronorubrum tibetense sp. nov. (strain GA33T).  (+info)

An evaluation of elongation factor 1 alpha as a phylogenetic marker for eukaryotes. (2/2228)

Elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1 alpha) is a highly conserved ubiquitous protein involved in translation that has been suggested to have desirable properties for phylogenetic inference. To examine the utility of EF-1 alpha as a phylogenetic marker for eukaryotes, we studied three properties of EF-1 alpha trees: congruency with other phyogenetic markers, the impact of species sampling, and the degree of substitutional saturation occurring between taxa. Our analyses indicate that the EF-1 alpha tree is congruent with some other molecular phylogenies in identifying both the deepest branches and some recent relationships in the eukaryotic line of descent. However, the topology of the intermediate portion of the EF-1 alpha tree, occupied by most of the protist lineages, differs for different phylogenetic methods, and bootstrap values for branches are low. Most problematic in this region is the failure of all phylogenetic methods to resolve the monophyly of two higher-order protistan taxa, the Ciliophora and the Alveolata. JACKMONO analyses indicated that the impact of species sampling on bootstrap support for most internal nodes of the eukaryotic EF-1 alpha tree is extreme. Furthermore, a comparison of observed versus inferred numbers of substitutions indicates that multiple overlapping substitutions have occurred, especially on the branch separating the Eukaryota from the Archaebacteria, suggesting that the rooting of the eukaryotic tree on the diplomonad lineage should be treated with caution. Overall, these results suggest that the phylogenies obtained from EF-1 alpha are congruent with other molecular phylogenies in recovering the monophyly of groups such as the Metazoa, Fungi, Magnoliophyta, and Euglenozoa. However, the interrelationships between these and other protist lineages are not well resolved. This lack of resolution may result from the combined effects of poor taxonomic sampling, relatively few informative positions, large numbers of overlapping substitutions that obscure phylogenetic signal, and lineage-specific rate increases in the EF-1 alpha data set. It is also consistent with the nearly simultaneous diversification of major eukaryotic lineages implied by the "big-bang" hypothesis of eukaryote evolution.  (+info)

Unusual ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase of anoxic Archaea. (3/2228)

The predominant pool of organic matter on earth is derived from the biological reduction and assimilation of carbon dioxide gas, catalyzed primarily by the enzyme ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO). By virtue of its capacity to use molecular oxygen as an alternative and competing gaseous substrate, the catalytic efficiency of RubisCO and the enzyme's ability to assimilate CO2 may be severely limited, with consequent environmental and agricultural effects. Recent genomic sequencing projects, however, have identified putative RubisCO genes from anoxic Archaea. In the present study, these potential RubisCO sequences, from Methanococcus jannaschii and Archaeoglobus fulgidus, were analyzed in order to ascertain whether such sequences might encode functional proteins. We also report the isolation and properties of recombinant RubisCO using sequences obtained from the obligately anaerobic hyperthermophilic methanogen M. jannaschii. This is the first description of an archaeal RubisCO sequence; this study also represents the initial characterization of a RubisCO molecule that has evolved in the absence of molecular oxygen. The enzyme was shown to be a homodimer whose deduced sequence, along with other recently obtained archaeal RubisCO sequences, differs substantially from those of known RubisCO molecules. The recombinant M. jannaschii enzyme has a somewhat low, but reasonable kcat, however, unlike previously isolated RubisCO molecules, this enzyme is very oxygen sensitive yet it is stable to hyperthermal temperatures and catalyzes the formation of the expected carboxylation product. Despite inhibition by oxygen, this unusual RubisCO still catalyzes a weak yet demonstrable oxygenase activity, with perhaps the lowest capacity for CO2/O2 discrimination ever encountered for any RubisCO.  (+info)

Fluorescence in situ hybridization using 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotides reveals localization of methanogens and selected uncultured bacteria in mesophilic and thermophilic sludge granules. (4/2228)

16S rRNA-targeted in situ hybridization combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy was used to elucidate the spatial distribution of microbes within two types of methanogenic granular sludge, mesophilic (35 degrees C) and thermophilic (55 degrees C), in upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors fed with sucrose-, acetate-, and propionate-based artificial wastewater. The spatial organization of the microbes was visualized in thin sections of the granules by using fluorescent oligonucleotide probes specific to several phylogenetic groups of microbes. In situ hybridization with archaeal- and bacterial-domain probes within granule sections clearly showed that both mesophilic and thermophilic granules had layered structures and that the outer layer harbored mainly bacterial cells while the inner layer consisted mainly of archaeal cells. Methanosaeta-, Methanobacterium-, Methanospirillum-, and Methanosarcina-like cells were detected with oligonucleotide probes specific for the different groups of methanogens, and they were found to be localized inside the granules, in both types of which dominant methanogens were members of the genus Methanosaeta. For specific detection of bacteria which were previously detected by whole-microbial-community 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA)-cloning analysis (Y. Sekiguchi, Y. Kamagata, K. Syutsubo, A. Ohashi, H. Harada, and K. Nakamura, Microbiology 144:2655-2665, 1998) we designed probes specific for clonal 16S rDNAs related to unidentified green nonsulfur bacteria and clones related to Syntrophobacter species. The probe designed for the cluster closely related to Syntrophobacter species hybridized with coccoid cells in the inner layer of the mesophilic granule sections. The probe for the unidentified bacteria which were clustered with the green nonsulfur bacteria detected filamentous cells in the outermost layer of the thermophilic sludge granule sections. These results revealed the spatial organizations of methanogens and uncultivated bacteria and their in situ morphologies and metabolic functions in both mesophilic and thermophilic granular sludges.  (+info)

Universal conservation in translation initiation revealed by human and archaeal homologs of bacterial translation initiation factor IF2. (5/2228)

Binding of initiator methionyl-tRNA to ribosomes is catalyzed in prokaryotes by initiation factor (IF) IF2 and in eukaryotes by eIF2. The discovery of both IF2 and eIF2 homologs in yeast and archaea suggested that these microbes possess an evolutionarily intermediate protein synthesis apparatus. We describe the identification of a human IF2 homolog, and we demonstrate by using in vivo and in vitro assays that human IF2 functions as a translation factor. In addition, we show that archaea IF2 can substitute for its yeast homolog both in vivo and in vitro. We propose a universally conserved function for IF2 in facilitating the proper binding of initiator methionyl-tRNA to the ribosomal P site.  (+info)

10-11 bp periodicities in complete genomes reflect protein structure and DNA folding. (6/2228)

MOTIVATION: Completely sequenced genomes allow for detection and analysis of the relatively weak periodicities of 10-11 basepairs (bp). Two sources contribute to such signals: correlations in the corresponding protein sequences due to the amphipatic character of alpha-helices and the folding of DNA (nucleosomal patterns, DNA supercoiling). Since the topological state of genomic DNA is of importance for its replication, recombination and transcription, there is an immediate interest to obtain information about the supercoiled state from sequence periodicities. RESULTS: We show that correlations within proteins affect mainly the oscillations at distances below 35 bp. The long-ranging correlations up to 100 bp reflect primarily DNA folding. For the yeast genome these oscillations are consistent in detail with the chromatin structure. For eubacteria and archaea the periods deviate significantly from the 10.55 bp value for free DNA. These deviations suggest that while a period of 11 bp in bacteria reflects negative supercoiling, the significantly different period of thermophilic archaea close to 10 bp corresponds to positive supercoiling of thermophilic archaeal genomes. AVAILABILITY: Protein sets and C programs for the calculation of correlation functions are available on request from the authors (see  (+info)

The euryarchaeotes, a subdomain of Archaea, survive on a single DNA polymerase: fact or farce? (7/2228)

Archaea is now recognized as the third domain of life. Since their discovery, much effort has been directed towards understanding the molecular biology and biochemistry of Archaea. The objective is to comprehend the complete structure and the depth of the phylogenetic tree of life. DNA replication is one of the most important events in living organisms and DNA polymerase is the key enzyme in the molecular machinery which drives the process. All archaeal DNA polymerases were thought to belong to family B. This was because all of the products of pol genes that had been cloned showed amino acid sequence similarities to those of this family, which includes three eukaryal DNA replicases and Escherichia coli DNA polymerase II. Recently, we found a new heterodimeric DNA polymerase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon, Pyrococcus furiosus. The genes coding for the subunits of this DNA polymerase are conserved in the euryarchaeotes whose genomes have been completely sequenced. The biochemical characteristics of the novel DNA polymerase family suggest that its members play an important role in DNA replication within euryarchaeal cells. We review here our current knowledge on DNA polymerases in Archaea with emphasis on the novel DNA polymerase discovered in Euryarchaeota.  (+info)

Two distinct SECIS structures capable of directing selenocysteine incorporation in eukaryotes. (8/2228)

Translation of UGA as selenocysteine requires specific RNA secondary structures in the mRNAs of selenoproteins. These elements differ in sequence, structure, and location in the mRNA, that is, coding versus 3' untranslated region, in prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and archaea. Analyses of eukaryotic selenocysteine insertion sequence (SECIS) elements via computer folding programs, mutagenesis studies, and chemical and enzymatic probing has led to the derivation of a predicted consensus structural model for these elements. This model consists of a stem-loop or hairpin, with conserved nucleotides in the loop and in a non-Watson-Crick motif at the base of the stem. However, the sequences of a number of SECIS elements predict that they would diverge from the consensus structure in the loop region. Using site-directed mutagenesis to introduce mutations predicted to either disrupt or restore structure, or to manipulate loop size or stem length, we show that eukaryotic SECIS elements fall into two distinct classes, termed forms 1 and 2. Form 2 elements have additional secondary structures not present in form 1 elements. By either insertion or deletion of the sequences and structures distinguishing the two classes of elements while maintaining appropriate loop size, conversion of a form 1 element to a functional form 2-like element and of a form 2 to a functional form 1-like element was achieved. These results suggest commonality of function of the two classes. The information obtained regarding the existence of two classes of SECIS elements and the tolerances for manipulations of stem length and loop size should facilitate designing RNA molecules for obtaining high-resolution structural information about these elements.  (+info)