An integrated analysis of the genome of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus abyssi



The hyperthermophilic euryarchaeon Pyrococcus abyssi and the related species Pyrococcus furiosus and Pyrococcus horikoshii, whose genomes have been completely sequenced, are presently used as model organisms in different laboratories to study archaeal DNA replication and gene expression and to develop genetic tools for hyperthermophiles. We have performed an extensive re-annotation of the genome of P. abyssi to obtain an integrated view of its phylogeny, molecular biology and physiology. Many new functions are predicted for both informational and operational proteins. Moreover, several candidate genes have been identified that might encode missing links in key metabolic pathways, some of which have unique biochemical features. The great majority of Pyrococcus proteins are typical archaeal proteins and their phylogenetic pattern agrees with its position near the root of the archaeal tree. However, proteins probably from bacterial origin, including some from mesophilic bacteria, are also present in the P. abyssi genome.