Small Proteins in Archaea, a Mainly Unexplored World

J Bacteriol. 2022 Jan 18;204(1):e0031321. doi: 10.1128/JB.00313-21. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


In recent years, increasing numbers of small proteins have moved into the focus of science. Small proteins have been identified and characterized in all three domains of life, but the majority remains functionally uncharacterized, lack secondary structure, and exhibit limited evolutionary conservation. While quite a few have already been described for bacteria and eukaryotic organisms, the amount of known and functionally analyzed archaeal small proteins is still very limited. In this review, we compile the current state of research, show strategies for systematic approaches for global identification of small archaeal proteins, and address selected functionally characterized examples. Besides, we document exemplarily for one archaeon the tool development and optimization to identify small proteins using genome-wide approaches.

Keywords: archaea; short ORFs; small proteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / genetics
  • Archaea / metabolism*
  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Archaeal / physiology*
  • Genome, Archaeal


  • Archaeal Proteins