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Environ Microbiol. 2008 Oct;10(10):2550-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01679.x. Epub 2008 Jun 9.

The complete genome sequence of Moorella thermoacetica (f. Clostridium thermoaceticum).

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


This paper describes the genome sequence of Moorella thermoacetica (f. Clostridium thermoaceticum), which is the model acetogenic bacterium that has been widely used for elucidating the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway of CO and CO(2) fixation. This pathway, which is also known as the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway, allows acetogenic (often called homoacetogenic) bacteria to convert glucose stoichiometrically into 3 mol of acetate and to grow autotrophically using H(2) and CO as electron donors and CO(2) as an electron acceptor. Methanogenic archaea use this pathway in reverse to grow by converting acetate into methane and CO(2). Acetogenic bacteria also couple the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway to a variety of other pathways to allow the metabolism of a wide variety of carbon sources and electron donors (sugars, carboxylic acids, alcohols and aromatic compounds) and electron acceptors (CO(2), nitrate, nitrite, thiosulfate, dimethylsulfoxide and aromatic carboxyl groups). The genome consists of a single circular 2 628 784 bp chromosome encoding 2615 open reading frames (ORFs), which includes 2523 predicted protein-encoding genes. Of these, 1834 genes (70.13%) have been assigned tentative functions, 665 (25.43%) matched genes of unknown function, and the remaining 24 (0.92%) had no database match. A total of 2384 (91.17%) of the ORFs in the M. thermoacetica genome can be grouped in orthologue clusters. This first genome sequence of an acetogenic bacterium provides important information related to how acetogens engage their extreme metabolic diversity by switching among different carbon substrates and electron donors/acceptors and how they conserve energy by anaerobic respiration. Our genome analysis indicates that the key genetic trait for homoacetogenesis is the core acs gene cluster of the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway.

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