Aquifex aeolicus was one of the earliest diverging, and is one of the most thermophilic, bacteria known. It can grow on hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and mineral salts. The complex metabolic machinery needed for A. aeolicus to function as a chemolithoautotroph (an organism which uses an inorganic carbon source for biosynthesis and an inorganic chemical energy source) is encoded within a genome that is only one-third the size of the E. coli genome. Metabolic flexibility seems to be reduced as a result of the limited genome size. The use of oxygen (albeit at very low concentrations) as an electron acceptor is allowed by the presence of a complex respiratory apparatus. Although this organism grows at 95°C, the extreme thermal limit of the Bacteria, only a few specific indications of thermophily are apparent from the genoma. Here we describe the complete genoma sequence of 1,551,335 base pairs of this evolutionarily and physiologically interesting organism.
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