Research highlights

Archaea in global oceans use Cdv for cell division (comments in Nature Rev Microbiol and Mol Microbiol)

Identification of an actin-based cytoskeleton in archaea (comments in Nature Rev Microbiol and CIB)

Discovery of new Cdv cell division machinery (comments in PNAS and CIB)

Global transcription map of an archaeal cell cycle (expression data web resource)

Sulfolobus species contain three chromosome replication origins, and Pyrobaculum contains four

 

Research strategies

We use flow cytometry to characterize the general organization of the cell cycle and to investigate the effects of mutations and drug treatments. Epifluorescence microscopy in combination with computer-aided image analysis provides information about cell and nucleoid dynamics during cell cycle progression. In addition, we have established several procedures for cell cycle synchronization of archaea.

In-house developed whole-genome DNA microarrays for two Sulfolobus species have been used for a variety of global studies, including a genome-wide analysis of cell-cycle-specific gene expression and, in a pioneering study, a demonstration of the first instance of multiple chromosome replication origins in any prokaryote.

We also investigate the archaeal chromosome replication, mitosis and cytokinesis machineries using molecular and biochemical approaches. Main outcomes have been the discovery of a novel cell division machinery, Cdv, related to the eukaryotic ESCRT-III system, and the identification of an archaeal cytoskeleton based on an actin homologue, Crenactin.

We continue to explore deeper into the regulatory and mechanistic features of the cell cycle in different archaeal model organisms, currently focusing on high-throughput sequencing, proteomics and structural biology approaches.