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J Bacteriol. 2008 Nov;190(22):7491-9. doi: 10.1128/JB.00746-08. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

The complete genome sequence of Thermococcus onnurineus NA1 reveals a mixed heterotrophic and carboxydotrophic metabolism.

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  • 1Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, Ansan, P.O. Box 29, Seoul 425-600, South Korea.


Members of the genus Thermococcus, sulfur-reducing hyperthermophilic archaea, are ubiquitously present in various deep-sea hydrothermal vent systems and are considered to play a significant role in the microbial consortia. We present the complete genome sequence and feature analysis of Thermococcus onnurineus NA1 isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent area, which reveal clues to its physiology. Based on results of genomic analysis, T. onnurineus NA1 possesses the metabolic pathways for organotrophic growth on peptides, amino acids, or sugars. More interesting was the discovery that the genome encoded unique proteins that are involved in carboxydotrophy to generate energy by oxidation of CO to CO(2), thereby providing a mechanistic basis for growth with CO as a substrate. This lithotrophic feature in combination with carbon fixation via RuBisCO (ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase) introduces a new strategy with a complementing energy supply for T. onnurineus NA1 potentially allowing it to cope with nutrient stress in the surrounding of hydrothermal vents, providing the first genomic evidence for the carboxydotrophy in Thermococcus.

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