Sequencing of seven haloarchaeal genomes reveals patterns of genomic flux

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41389. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041389. Epub 2012 Jul 24.


We report the sequencing of seven genomes from two haloarchaeal genera, Haloferax and Haloarcula. Ease of cultivation and the existence of well-developed genetic and biochemical tools for several diverse haloarchaeal species make haloarchaea a model group for the study of archaeal biology. The unique physiological properties of these organisms also make them good candidates for novel enzyme discovery for biotechnological applications. Seven genomes were sequenced to ∼20×coverage and assembled to an average of 50 contigs (range 5 scaffolds-168 contigs). Comparisons of protein-coding gene compliments revealed large-scale differences in COG functional group enrichment between these genera. Analysis of genes encoding machinery for DNA metabolism reveals genera-specific expansions of the general transcription factor TATA binding protein as well as a history of extensive duplication and horizontal transfer of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Insights gained from this study emphasize the importance of haloarchaea for investigation of archaeal biology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Archaeal / genetics
  • DNA, Archaeal / metabolism
  • Gene Flow*
  • Genome, Archaeal / physiology*
  • Haloarcula / genetics*
  • Haloarcula / metabolism
  • Haloferax / genetics*
  • Haloferax / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*


  • DNA, Archaeal

Grants and funding

This work was funded by NSF Grant #EF0949453 and by 454 Life Sciences. Sequencing and genome assembly for this project was provided by 454 Life Sciences. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.