Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pelagibacter Ubique

Well this is just a tad tardy, but here it goes anyway! 

Toward the beginning of the quarter, Latto mentioned Pelagibacter Ubique while lecturing on proteobacteria. He told us that this organism was overlooked until 2002 but it is quite possibly the most common organism on Earth

I read about a study on P. ubique; turns out this little guy is pretty badass! 
P. ubique has the smallest known genome (only 1,308,759 base pairs) and smallest number of genes (just 1354 open reading frames) out of all free living microorganisms! (To give you an idea of how small this little guy is, its genome makes up 30% of the cell volume.) But most other microorganisms with small genomes can't do what P. ubique can! P. ubique has complete biosynthetic pathways for ALL 20 amino acids and ALMOST ALL cofactors! 
You are probably wondering how such a small genome codes for everything a free living organism needs. 
It is because P. ubique doesn't have any duplicate gene copies, viral genes, or junk DNA (it doesn't have any introns, pseudogenes, transposons inteins etc.) WOW! That's quite a genome! 

P. ubique makes up to 50% of ALL CELLS in the temperate ocean! Because the genome is so small, it is easily copied and duplicated. 
Because there are so many, one would think mutation would be a problem, but it hasn't! It is thought to be due to the fact that the cell is self sufficient, but there hasn't yet been research to explain this phenomenon! 


Follow this link to learn more about our tiny, amazing friend!!  
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/309/5738/1242.full 

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