, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 19–29 | Cite as

Microarray analysis of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus exposed to gamma irradiation

  • Ernest Williams
  • Todd M. Lowe
  • Jeffrey Savas
  • Jocelyne DiRuggieroEmail author
Original Paper


The remarkable survival of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus to ionizing radiation was previously demonstrated. Using a time course study and whole-genome microarray analyses of mRNA transcript levels, the genes and regulatory pathways involved in the repair of lesions produced by ionizing irradiation (oxidative damage and DNA strand breaks) in P. furiosus were investigated. Data analyses showed that radA, encoding the archaeal homolog of the RecA/Rad51 recombinase, was moderately up regulated by irradiation and that a putative DNA-repair gene cluster was specifically induced by exposure to ionizing radiation. This novel repair system appears to be unique to thermophilic archaea and bacteria and is suspected to be involved in translesion synthesis. Genes that encode for a putative Dps-like iron-chelating protein and two membrane-bound oxidoreductases were differentially expressed following gamma irradiation, potentially in response to oxidative stress. Surprisingly, the many systems involved in oxygen detoxification and redox homeostasis appeared to be constitutively expressed. Finally, we identified several transcriptional regulators and protein kinases highly regulated in response to gamma irradiation.


Archaea Hyperthermophile DNA repair Ionizing radiation Oxidative stress Transcriptional analysis 



We thank Peter Kennelly for help in analyzing the protein kinase sequences from P. furiosus, and Rhonda Holley-shank for technical support. This work was supported by funds from NASA (NCC9147 to JDR) and the Human Frontier Science Program (RG522002 to JDR).

Supplementary material

792_2006_2_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (228 kb)
Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernest Williams
    • 1
  • Todd M. Lowe
    • 2
  • Jeffrey Savas
    • 2
  • Jocelyne DiRuggiero
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomolecular Engineering, UCSC RNA CenterUniversity of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA

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