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Archaea, 2
© 2006 Heron Publishing—Victoria, Canada
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Distribution, structure and diversity of “bacterial” genes encoding two-component proteins in the Euryarchaeota

Mark K. Ashby (1, 2, 3)

1. Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Biochemistry Section, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Kingston 7, Jamaica / 2. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, U.K. / 3. Corresponding author ([email protected]) / Received June 13, 2005; accepted January 12, 2006; published online January 23, 2006


The publicly available annotated archaeal genome sequences (23 complete and three partial annotations, October 2005) were searched for the presence of potential two-component open reading frames (ORFs) using gene category lists and BLASTP. A total of 489 potential two-component genes were identified from the gene category lists and BLASTP. Two-component genes were found in 14 of the 21 Euryarchaeal sequences (October 2005) and in neither the Crenarchaeota nor the Nanoarchaeota. A total of 20 predicted protein domains were identified in the putative two-component ORFs that, in addition to the histidine kinase and receiver domains, also includes sensor and signalling domains. The detailed structure of these putative proteins is shown, as is the distribution of each class of two-component genes in each species. Potential members of orthologous groups have been identified, as have any potential operons containing two or more two-component genes. The number of two-component genes in those Euryarchaeal species which have them seems to be linked more to lifestyle and habitat than to genome complexity, with most examples being found in Methanospirillum hungatei, Haloarcula marismortui, Methanococcoides burtonii and the mesophilic Methanosarcinales group. The large numbers of two-component genes in these species may reflect a greater requirement for internal regulation. Phylogenetic analysis of orthologous groups of five different protein classes, three probably involved in regulating taxis, suggests that most of these ORFs have been inherited vertically from an ancestral Euryarchaeal species and point to a limited number of key horizontal gene transfer events.

Keywords: histidine kinase, hybrid kinase, response regulator.

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