Letters to Nature

Nature 407, 508-513 (28 September 2000) | doi:10.1038/35035069; Received 13 April 2000; Accepted 6 July 2000

The genome sequence of the thermoacidophilic scavenger Thermoplasma acidophilum

Andreas Ruepp1, Werner Graml1, Martha-Leticia Santos-Martinez1, Kristin K. Koretke2, Craig Volker2, H. Werner Mewes3, Dmitrij Frishman3, Susanne Stocker3, Andrei N. Lupas2 & Wolfgang Baumeister1

  1. Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie , Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-82152 Martinsried , Germany
  2. Bioinformatics, Smith Kline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426, USA
  3. GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit, Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany

Correspondence to: Wolfgang Baumeister1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to W.B. (e-mail: Email: baumeist@biochem.mpg.de). The Thermoplasma acidophilum genome sequence has been deposited in the EMBL database (accession number AL139299).

Thermoplasma acidophilum is a thermoacidophilic archaeon that thrives at 59 °C and pH 2, which was isolated from self-heating coal refuse piles and solfatara fields1, 2. Species of the genus Thermoplasma do not possess a rigid cell wall, but are only delimited by a plasma membrane. Many macromolecular assemblies from Thermoplasma , primarily proteases and chaperones, have been pivotal in elucidating the structure and function of their more complex eukaryotic homologues3, 4. Our interest in protein folding and degradation led us to seek a more complete representation of the proteins involved in these pathways by determining the genome sequence of the organism. Here we have sequenced the 1,564,905-base-pair genome in just 7,855 sequencing reactions by using a new strategy. The 1,509 open reading frames identify Thermoplasma as a typical euryarchaeon with a substantial complement of bacteria-related genes; however, evidence indicates that there has been much lateral gene transfer between Thermoplasma and Sulfolobus solfataricus, a phylogenetically distant crenarchaeon inhabiting the same environment. At least 252 open reading frames, including a complete protein degradation pathway and various transport proteins, resemble Sulfolobus proteins most closely.