Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 104, Issue 2–3, pp 137–152 | Cite as

Comparative genomics of green sulfur bacteria

  • Colin Davenport
  • David W. Ussery
  • Burkhard TümmlerEmail author
Regular Paper


Eleven completely sequenced Chlorobi genomes were compared in oligonucleotide usage, gene contents, and synteny. The green sulfur bacteria (GSB) are equipped with a core genome that sustains their anoxygenic phototrophic lifestyle by photosynthesis, sulfur oxidation, and CO2 fixation. Whole-genome gene family and single gene sequence comparisons yielded similar phylogenetic trees of the sequenced chromosomes indicating a concerted vertical evolution of large gene sets. Chromosomal synteny of genes is not preserved in the phylum Chlorobi. The accessory genome is characterized by anomalous oligonucleotide usage and endows the strains with individual features for transport, secretion, cell wall, extracellular constituents, and a few elements of the biosynthetic apparatus. Giant genes are a peculiar feature of the genera Chlorobium and Prosthecochloris. The predicted proteins have a huge molecular weight of 106, and are probably instrumental for the bacteria to generate their own intimate (micro)environment.


Comparative genomics Chlorobaculum Chlorobium Genome atlas Oligonucleotide usage 







Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats

FMO protein

Fenna–Matthews–Olson protein


Global relative variance


Green sulfur bacteria


Locally collinear block


Oligonucleotide usage


Relative variance


Tricarboxylic acid



A stipend provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to C.D. (GRK653/3) is gratefully acknowledged. Part of this study was supported by a grant from the Danish Center for Scientific Computing.

Supplementary material

11120_2009_9515_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 4998 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Davenport
    • 1
  • David W. Ussery
    • 2
  • Burkhard Tümmler
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Klinische Forschergruppe, Klinik für Pädiatrische Pneumologie und NeonatologieOE 6711, Medizinische Hochschule HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Center for Biological Sequence AnalysisTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  3. 3.Klinische ForschergruppeOE 6710, Medizinische Hochschule HannoverHannoverGermany

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