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Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 602408, 14 pages
Review Article

Functional Genomic and Advanced Genetic Studies Reveal Novel Insights into the Metabolism, Regulation, and Biology of Haloferax volcanii

Institute for Molecular Biosciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Biocentre, Max-Von-Laue-Straβe 9, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany

Received 19 May 2011; Revised 4 July 2011; Accepted 6 September 2011

Academic Editor: Nitin S. Baliga

Copyright © 2011 Jörg Soppa. 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.


The genome sequence of Haloferax volcanii is available and several comparative genomic in silico studies were performed that yielded novel insight for example into protein export, RNA modifications, small non-coding RNAs, and ubiquitin-like Small Archaeal Modifier Proteins. The full range of functional genomic methods has been established and results from transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic studies are discussed. Notably, Hfx. volcanii is together with Halobacterium salinarum the only prokaryotic species for which a translatome analysis has been performed. The results revealed that the fraction of translationally-regulated genes in haloarchaea is as high as in eukaryotes. A highly efficient genetic system has been established that enables the application of libraries as well as the parallel generation of genomic deletion mutants. Facile mutant generation is complemented by the possibility to culture Hfx. volcanii in microtiter plates, allowing the phenotyping of mutant collections. Genetic approaches are currently used to study diverse biological questions–from replication to posttranslational modification—and selected results are discussed. Taken together, the wealth of functional genomic and genetic tools make Hfx. volcanii a bona fide archaeal model species, which has enabled the generation of important results in recent years and will most likely generate further breakthroughs in the future.