, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 17-28
Date: 06 Jan 2006

Plasmids and viruses of the thermoacidophilic crenarchaeote Sulfolobus

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Abstract

The crenarchaeote Sulfolobus spp. is a host for a remarkably large spectrum of viruses and plasmids. The genetic elements characterized so far indicate a large degree of novelty in terms of morphology (viruses) and in terms of genome content (plasmids and viruses). The viruses and conjugative plasmids encode a great number of conserved proteins of unknown function due to the lack of sequence similarity to functionally characterized proteins. These apparently essential proteins remain to be studied and should help to understand the physiology and genetics of the respective genetic elements as well as the host. Sulfolobus is one of the best-studied archaeons and could develop into an important model organism of the crenarchaea and the archaea.

Communicated by D. A. Cowan