Biological Resource Center, NITE (NBRC)

Arthrospira platensis NIES-39


Arthrospira (Spirulina) plantensis is a filamentous non-N2-fixing cyanobacterium and known to be an important organism for industrial application and as a food supply. The strain NIES-39 was originally isolated from a saline lake in Africa and grows under severe conditions such as high salt and alkaline pH. Despite the importance in industrial applications, little is known about the biology and genetic system of A. platensis and related cyanobacterial species because of, at least in part, the difficulty in genetic transformation.

Almost complete genome sequence of A. platensis NIES-39 was determined. Optical mapping analysis revealed that the genome consists of a single circular chromosome of 6.8Mb. A total of 6,630 protein-coding genes, two sets of rRNA genes and 40 tRNA genes were predicted and annotated. Of the protein-coding genes, 78% are similar to those of other organisms and the remaining 22% are currently unknown.

Comparative genome analysis with other sequenced cyanobacterial genomes highlighted genes specific to filamentous cyanobacteria. Surprisingly, almost 10% of the genome (612 kb) is composed of group II introns, phage-like sequences, insertion elements and other types of repetitive sequences. In addition, the genome harbors many pseudogenes, suggesting that the genome is undergoing rapid evolution to adapt to environmental conditions. The genome was found to contain a number of restriction-modification systems for protecting the genome from exogenous DNA elements. These results may provide important clues for post-genome studies, including the development of genetic transformation system, and for further industrial utilization.

Arthrospira platensis NIES-39 photo by Dr. Ohmori in Saitama University.


[1] Genomic Structure an Economically Important Cyanobacterium, Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis NIES-39.
Fujisawa T, Narikawa R, Okamoto S, Ehira S, Yoshimura H, Suzuki I, Masuda T, Mochimaru M, Takaichi S, Awai K, Sekine M, Horikawa H, Yashiro I, Omata S, Takarada H, Katano Y, Kosugi H, Tanikawa S, Ohmori K, Sato N, Ikeuchi M, Fujita N, Ohmori M. (2010)
DNA res. Epub ahead of print
Genomic size: 6,788,435 bp
The number of ORFs: 6,630
GC content: 43.65 %
Genome Database: DOGAN

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