The essential genome of the crenarchaeal model Sulfolobus islandicus

Changyi Zhang, Alex P.R. Phillips, Rebecca L. Wipfler, Gary J. Olsen, Rachel J. Whitaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sulfolobus islandicus is a model microorganism in the TACK superphylum of the Archaea, a key lineage in the evolutionary history of cells. Here we report a genome-wide identification of the repertoire of genes essential to S. islandicus growth in culture. We confirm previous targeted gene knockouts, uncover the non-essentiality of functions assumed to be essential to the Sulfolobus cell, including the proteinaceous S-layer, and highlight essential genes whose functions are yet to be determined. Phyletic distributions illustrate the potential transitions that may have occurred during the evolution of this archaeal microorganism, and highlight sets of genes that may have been associated with each transition. We use this comparative context as a lens to focus future research on archaea-specific uncharacterized essential genes that may provide valuable insights into the evolutionary history of cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4908
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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