The home stretch, a first analysis of the nearly completed genome of Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1

Photosynth Res. 2001;70(1):19-41. doi: 10.1023/A:1013831823701.


Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1 is an alpha-3 purple nonsulfur eubacterium with an extensive metabolic repertoire. Under anaerobic conditions, it is able to grow by photosynthesis, respiration and fermentation. Photosynthesis may be photoheterotrophic using organic compounds as both a carbon and a reducing source, or photoautotrophic using carbon dioxide as the sole carbon source and hydrogen as the source of reducing power. In addition, R. sphaeroides can grow both chemoheterotrophically and chemoautotrophically. The structural components of this metabolically diverse organism and their modes of integrated regulation are encoded by a genome of approximately 4.5 Mb in size. The genome comprises two chromosomes CI and CII (2.9 and 0.9 Mb, respectively) and five other replicons. Sequencing of the genome has been carried out by two groups, the Joint Genome Institute, which carried out shotgun-sequencing of the entire genome and The University of Texas-Houston Medical School, which carried out a targeted sequencing strategy of CII. Here we describe our current understanding of the genome when data from both of these groups are combined. Previous work had suggested that the two chromosomes are equal partners sharing responsibilities for fundamental cellular processes. This view has been reinforced by our preliminary analysis of the virtually completed genome sequence. We also have some evidence to suggest that two of the plasmids, pRS241a and pRS241b encode chromosomal type functions and their role may be more than that of accessory elements, perhaps representing replicons in a transition state.