Despite significant interest and past work to elucidate the phylogeny and photochemistry of species of the Heliobacteriaceae, genomic analyses of heliobacteria to date have been limited to just one published genome, that of the thermophilic species Heliobacterium (Hbt.) modesticaldum str. Ice1T. Here we present an analysis of the complete genome of a second heliobacterium, Heliorestis (Hrs.) convoluta str. HHT, an alkaliphilic, mesophilic, and morphologically distinct heliobacterium isolated from an Egyptian soda lake. The genome of Hrs. convoluta is a single circular chromosome of 3.22 Mb with a GC content of 43.1% and 3263 protein-encoding genes. In addition to culture-based observations and insights gleaned from the Hbt. modesticaldum genome, an analysis of enzyme-encoding genes from key metabolic pathways supports an obligately photoheterotrophic lifestyle for Hrs. convoluta. A complete set of genes encoding enzymes for propionate and butyrate catabolism and the absence of a gene encoding lactate dehydrogenase distinguishes the carbon metabolism of Hrs. convoluta from its close relatives. Comparative analyses of key proteins in Hrs. convoluta, including cytochrome c553 and the Fo alpha subunit of ATP synthase, with those of related species reveal variations in specific amino acid residues that likely contribute to the success of Hrs. convoluta in its highly alkaline environment.
Keywords: Heliorestis convoluta; alkaliphilic bacteria; anoxygenic phototroph; bacteriochlorophyll g; heliobacteria; soda lake.