The Korarchaeota: Archaeal orphans representing an ancestral lineage of life

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Based on conserved cellular properties, all life on Earth can be grouped into different phyla which belong to the primary domains Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. However, tracing back their evolutionary relationships has been impeded by horizontal gene transfer and gene loss. Within the Archaea, the kingdoms Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota exhibit a profound divergence. In order to elucidate the evolution of these two major kingdoms, representatives of more deeply diverged lineages would be required. Based on their environmental small subunit ribosomal (ss RNA) sequences, the Korarchaeota had been originally suggested to have an ancestral relationship to all known Archaea although this ... continued below

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Elkins, James G.; Kunin, Victor; Anderson, Iain; Barry, Kerrie; Goltsman, Eugene; Lapidus, Alla et al. May 1, 2007.

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Based on conserved cellular properties, all life on Earth can be grouped into different phyla which belong to the primary domains Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. However, tracing back their evolutionary relationships has been impeded by horizontal gene transfer and gene loss. Within the Archaea, the kingdoms Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota exhibit a profound divergence. In order to elucidate the evolution of these two major kingdoms, representatives of more deeply diverged lineages would be required. Based on their environmental small subunit ribosomal (ss RNA) sequences, the Korarchaeota had been originally suggested to have an ancestral relationship to all known Archaea although this assessment has been refuted. Here we describe the cultivation and initial characterization of the first member of the Korarchaeota, highly unusual, ultrathin filamentous cells about 0.16 {micro}m in diameter. A complete genome sequence obtained from enrichment cultures revealed an unprecedented combination of signature genes which were thought to be characteristic of either the Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, or Eukarya. Cell division appears to be mediated through a FtsZ-dependent mechanism which is highly conserved throughout the Bacteria and Euryarchaeota. An rpb8 subunit of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase was identified which is absent from other Archaea and has been described as a eukaryotic signature gene. In addition, the representative organism possesses a ribosome structure typical for members of the Crenarchaeota. Based on its gene complement, this lineage likely diverged near the separation of the two major kingdoms of Archaea. Further investigations of these unique organisms may shed additional light onto the evolution of extant life.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-62879
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/960397 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 960397
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc933455

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  • May 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 18, 2016, 2:49 p.m.

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Elkins, James G.; Kunin, Victor; Anderson, Iain; Barry, Kerrie; Goltsman, Eugene; Lapidus, Alla et al. The Korarchaeota: Archaeal orphans representing an ancestral lineage of life, report, May 1, 2007; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933455/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.