The ribosomal gene spacer region in archaebacteria

Syst Appl Microbiol. 1988:10:211-4. doi: 10.1016/s0723-2020(88)80002-x.


Sequences for the spacer regions that separate the 16S and 23S ribosomal RNA genes have been determined for four more (strategically placed) archaebacteria. These confirm the general rule that methanogens and extreme halophiles have spacers that contain a single tRNAala gene, while tRNA genes are not found in the spacer region of the true extreme thermophiles. The present study also shows that the spacer regions from the sulfate reducing Archaeglobus and the extreme thermophile Thermococcus (both of which cluster phylogenetically with the methanogens and extreme halophiles) contain each a tRNAala gene. Thus, not only all methanogens and extreme halophiles show this characteristic, but all organisms on the "methanogen branch" of the archaebacterial tree appear to do so. The finding of a tRNA gene in the spacer region of the extreme thermophile Thermococcus celer is the first known phenotypic property that links this organism with its phylogenetic counterparts, the methanogens, rather than with its phenotypic counterparts, the sulfur-dependent extreme thermophiles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine / genetics
  • Archaea / classification
  • Archaea / genetics*
  • Archaeoglobus / classification
  • Archaeoglobus / genetics*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Archaeal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Ala / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Thermococcus / classification
  • Thermococcus / genetics*


  • RNA, Archaeal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S
  • RNA, Transfer, Ala
  • Alanine