Metabolic Adaptation to Sulfur of Hyperthermophilic Palaeococcus pacificus DY20341 T from Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Sediments

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jan 6;21(1):368. doi: 10.3390/ijms21010368.


The hyperthermo-piezophilic archaeon Palaeococcus pacificus DY20341T, isolated from East Pacific hydrothermal sediments, can utilize elemental sulfur as a terminal acceptor to simulate growth. To gain insight into sulfur metabolism, we performed a genomic and transcriptional analysis of Pa. pacificus DY20341T with/without elemental sulfur as an electron acceptor. In the 2001 protein-coding sequences of the genome, transcriptomic analysis showed that 108 genes increased (by up to 75.1 fold) and 336 genes decreased (by up to 13.9 fold) in the presence of elemental sulfur. Palaeococcus pacificus cultured with elemental sulfur promoted the following: the induction of membrane-bound hydrogenase (MBX), NADH:polysulfide oxidoreductase (NPSOR), NAD(P)H sulfur oxidoreductase (Nsr), sulfide dehydrogenase (SuDH), connected to the sulfur-reducing process, the upregulation of iron and nickel/cobalt transfer, iron-sulfur cluster-carrying proteins (NBP35), and some iron-sulfur cluster-containing proteins (SipA, SAM, CobQ, etc.). The accumulation of metal ions might further impact on regulators, e.g., SurR and TrmB. For growth in proteinous media without elemental sulfur, cells promoted flagelin, peptide/amino acids transporters, and maltose/sugar transporters to upregulate protein and starch/sugar utilization processes and riboflavin and thiamin biosynthesis. This indicates how strain DY20341T can adapt to different living conditions with/without elemental sulfur in the hydrothermal fields.

Keywords: Palaeococcus pacificus DY20341T; elemental sulfur; hydrogenase; iron–sulfur cluster; sulfur metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Hydrogenase / genetics
  • Hydrogenase / metabolism
  • Hydrothermal Vents / microbiology*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / metabolism
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Sulfur / metabolism*
  • Thermococcaceae / genetics
  • Thermococcaceae / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Sulfur
  • Hydrogenase