New insights on gene regulation in archaea
Archaea represent an important and vast domain of life. This cellular domain includes a large diversity of organisms characterized as prokaryotes with basal transcriptional machinery similar to eukarya. In this work we explore the most recent findings concerning the transcriptional regulatory organization in archaeal genomes since the perspective of the DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs), such as the high proportion of archaeal TFs homologous to bacteria, the apparent deficit of TFs, only comparable to the proportion of TFs in parasites or intracellular pathogenic bacteria, suggesting a deficit in this class of proteins. We discuss an appealing hypothesis to explain the apparent deficit of TFs in archaea, based on their characteristics, such as their small length sizes. The hypothesis suggests that a large fraction of these small-sized TFs could supply the deficit of TFs in archaea, by forming different combinations of monomers similar to that observed in eukaryotic transcriptional machinery, where a wide diversity of protein–protein interactions could act as mediators of regulatory feedback, indicating a chimera of bacterial and eukaryotic TFs’ functionality. Finally, we discuss how global experiments can help to understand in a global context the role of TFs in these organisms.
Graphical abstractFigure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload as PowerPoint slideHighlights► We identified a high proportion of archaeal TFs homologous to bacteria. ► We found a deficit of TFs similar to parasites or intracellular pathogenic bacteria. ► We found an overrepresentation TFs with small length sizes. ► Small-sized TFs form different combinations of monomers similar to eukaryotic TFs.
Journal: Computational Biology and Chemistry - Volume 35, Issue 6, 14 December 2011, Pages 341–346