A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Methanococcus jannaschii
Higher order taxa
- Superkingdom: Archaea
- Phylum: Euryarchaeota
- Class: Methanococci
- Order: Methanococcales
- Family: Methanocaldococcaceae
- Genus: Methanocaldococcus (syn: Methanococcus)
Genus species - Methanocaldococcus jannaschii
- synonym: Methanococcus jannaschii
Description and significance
Methanococcus jannaschii is an autotropic hyperthermophillic organism that belongs to the kingdom of Archaea. They were found to live in extreme environments such as hypothermal vents at the bottom of the oceans in which water reaches boiling temperature or pressure is extremely high (Bult, C.J. et. al., 1996). The evolutionary of these organisms and the biological mechanisms that they use to not only survive but also thrive in such extreme environments are of great interest to current researches.
In 1982, M. jannaschii was first isolated in the East Pacific Rise, near the western coast of Mexico. The organism was found from a sample sediment taken from a 2600 m deep “white smoker” chimney. Its extreme habitat of temperature between 48oC-94oC, pressure at 200atm, a pH of 5.2-7, and 1.0-5.0% NaCl leads experts to a conclusion that these organisms must have modified and unique adaptations for optimal growth at high temperature, high pressure, and also moderate salinity level (Tsoka et. al, 2003). Moreover, cellular structure of M. jannaschii revealed that they are irregular cocci (have irregular spherical shape). Their motility is by utilizing polar bundles of flagella (Tsoka et. al., 2003). Characteristic to any organism that belongs to the kingdom Archaea, M. jannaschii lacks cell wall; however, they do possess cell envelope that is made up of cytoplasmic membrane and a protein surface layer (S-layer) (Sleytr et. al., 2007).
Describe the size and content of the genome. How many chromosomes? Circular or linear? Other interesting features? What is known about its sequence? Does it have any plasmids? Are they important to the organism's lifestyle?
Cell structure and metabolism
Describe any interesting features and/or cell structures; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.
Describe any interactions with other organisms (included eukaryotes), contributions to the environment, effect on environment, etc.
Application to Biotechnology
Does this organism produce any useful compounds or enzymes? What are they and how are they used?
Enter summaries of the most recent research here--at least three required
[Sample reference] Takai, K., Sugai, A., Itoh, T., and Horikoshi, K. "Palaeococcus ferrophilus gen. nov., sp. nov., a barophilic, hyperthermophilic archaeon from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 2000. Volume 50. p. 489-500.
Edited by Tina Nguyen Tran of Rachel Larsen and Kit Pogliano