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Microbiology. 2006 Mar;152(Pt 3):585-90.

From genomes to function: haloarchaea as model organisms.

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Goethe-University, Biocentre, Institute for Microbiology, D-60439 Frankfurt, Germany.


Haloarchaea are adapted to high-salt environments and accumulate equally high salt concentrations in the cytoplasm. The genomes of representatives of six haloarchaeal genera have been fully or partially sequenced, allowing the analysis of haloarchaeal properties in silico. Transcriptome and proteome analyses have been established for Halobacterium salinarum and Haloferax volcanii. Genetic systems are available including methods that allow the fast in-frame deletion or modification of chromosomal genes. The high-efficiency transformation system of Hf. volcanii allows the isolation of genes essential for a biological process by complementation of loss-of-function mutants. For the analysis of haloarchaeal biology many molecular genetic, biochemical, structural and cell biological methods have been adapted to application at high salt concentrations. Recently it has become clear that several different mechanisms allow the adaptation of proteins to the high salt concentration of the cytoplasm. Taken together, the wealth of techniques available make haloarchaea excellent archaeal model species.

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