, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 347–357 | Cite as

Identification of a functional toxin–antitoxin system located in the genomic island PYG1 of piezophilic hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus yayanosii

  • Zhen Li
  • Qinghao Song
  • Yinzhao Wang
  • Xiang Xiao
  • Jun Xu
Original Paper


Toxin–antitoxin (TA) system is bacterial or archaeal genetic module consisting of toxin and antitoxin gene that be organized as a bicistronic operon. TA system could elicit programmed cell death, which is supposed to play important roles for the survival of prokaryotic population under various physiological stress conditions. The phage abortive infection system (AbiE family) belongs to bacterial type IV TA system. However, no archaeal AbiE family TA system has been reported so far. In this study, a putative AbiE TA system (PygAT), which is located in a genomic island PYG1 in the chromosome of Pyrococcus yayanosii CH1, was identified and characterized. In Escherichia coli, overexpression of the toxin gene pygT inhibited its growth while the toxic effect can be suppressed by introducing the antitoxin gene pygA in the same cell. PygAT also enhances the stability of shuttle plasmids with archaeal plasmid replication protein Rep75 in E. coli. In P. yayanosii, disruption of antitoxin gene pygA cause a significantly growth delayed under high hydrostatic pressure (HHP). The antitoxin protein PygA can specifically bind to the PygAT promoter region and regulate the transcription of pygT gene in vivo. These results show that PygAT is a functional TA system in P. yayanosii, and also may play a role in the adaptation to HHP environment.


Pyrococcus yayanosii Piezophilic hyperthermophile Toxin–antitoxin system Genomic island 


Author contributions

ZL XX and JX designed the experiments; ZL and QHS performed the experiments; ZL, YZW and JX drafted the manuscript. All authors discussed and reviewed the manuscript.


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41676121, 41376137) and the National Basic Research Program of China (“973” Program 2014CB441503).

Supplementary material

792_2018_1002_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3737 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhen Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qinghao Song
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yinzhao Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiang Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jun Xu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Institute of OceanographyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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