Secrets of soil survival revealed by the genome sequence of Arthrobacter aurescens TC1

PLoS Genet. 2006 Dec;2(12):e214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020214.


Arthrobacter sp. strains are among the most frequently isolated, indigenous, aerobic bacterial genera found in soils. Member of the genus are metabolically and ecologically diverse and have the ability to survive in environmentally harsh conditions for extended periods of time. The genome of Arthrobacter aurescens strain TC1, which was originally isolated from soil at an atrazine spill site, is composed of a single 4,597,686 basepair (bp) circular chromosome and two circular plasmids, pTC1 and pTC2, which are 408,237 bp and 300,725 bp, respectively. Over 66% of the 4,702 open reading frames (ORFs) present in the TC1 genome could be assigned a putative function, and 13.2% (623 genes) appear to be unique to this bacterium, suggesting niche specialization. The genome of TC1 is most similar to that of Tropheryma, Leifsonia, Streptomyces, and Corynebacterium glutamicum, and analyses suggest that A. aurescens TC1 has expanded its metabolic abilities by relying on the duplication of catabolic genes and by funneling metabolic intermediates generated by plasmid-borne genes to chromosomally encoded pathways. The data presented here suggest that Arthrobacter's environmental prevalence may be due to its ability to survive under stressful conditions induced by starvation, ionizing radiation, oxygen radicals, and toxic chemicals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arthrobacter / chemistry
  • Arthrobacter / genetics*
  • Arthrobacter / growth & development*
  • Arthrobacter / metabolism
  • Atrazine / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / chemistry
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / physiology
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • DNA, Circular / chemistry
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*
  • Soil Microbiology*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Circular
  • Atrazine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/CP000474
  • GENBANK/CP000475
  • GENBANK/CP000476