Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Volume 1 (2005), Issue 5, Pages 347-352
Research Article

Biosynthesis of ribose-5-phosphate and erythrose-4-phosphate in archaea: a phylogenetic analysis of archaeal genomes

Division of Science and Mathematics, University of Minnesota, Morris, 600 E. 4th Street, Morris, MN 56267, USA

Received 7 June 2004; Accepted 15 September 2004

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A phylogenetic analysis of the genes encoding enzymes in the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), the ribulose monophosphate (RuMP) pathway, and the chorismate pathway of aromatic amino acid biosynthesis, employing data from 13 complete archaeal genomes, provides a potential explanation for the enigmatic phylogenetic patterns of the PPP genes in archaea. Genomic and biochemical evidence suggests that three archaeal species (Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, Thermoplasma acidophilum and Thermoplasma volcanium) produce ribose-5-phosphate via the nonoxidative PPP (NOPPP), whereas nine species apparently lack an NOPPP but may employ a reverse RuMP pathway for pentose synthesis. One species (Halobacterium sp. NRC-1) lacks both the NOPPP and the RuMP pathway but may possess a modified oxidative PPP (OPPP), the details of which are not yet known. The presence of transketolase in several archaeal species that are missing the other two NOPPP genes can be explained by the existence of differing requirements for erythrose-4-phosphate (E4P) among archaea: six species use transketolase to make E4P as a precursor to aromatic amino acids, six species apparently have an alternate biosynthetic pathway and may not require the ability to make E4P, and one species (Pyrococcus horikoshii) probably does not synthesize aromatic amino acids at all.