New Insights on Gene Function and Regulation in Archaea


The archaea occupy a unique position in the tree of life, appearing similar to bacteria but having some properties related to those found in plants, animals, and fungi. Many archaea possess novel metabolic capabilities enabling them to withstand extreme conditions of temperature and acidity that could be useful in addressing DOE missions. However, the archaea remain poorly characterized, which limits their current utility. Collaborating researchers at the DOE Joint Bioenergy Institute, the DOE Joint Genome Institute, and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have now generated the first in depth gene expression map for Sulfolobus solfataricus, an archaeon that grows optimally under highly acidic conditions at 80°C. This study provides valuable new information on gene function and regulation in S. solfataricus and enables further development of this organism as a sturdy new platform or source of biological parts for biofuel production.


Wurtzel, O., R. Sapra, F. Chen, Y. Zhu, B. A. Simmons, R. Sorek. 2010. “A Single-Base Resolution Map of an Archaeal Transcriptome,” Genome Research 20:133-141.