Comparative and functional analysis of the archaeal cell cycle.
The temporal and spatial organization of the chromosome replication, genome segregation and cell division processes is less well understood in species belonging to the Archaea, than in those from the Bacteria and Eukarya domains. Novel insights into the regulation and key components of the Sulfolobus acidocaldarius cell cycle have been obtained through genome-wide analysis of cell cycle-specific gene expression, followed by cloning and characterization of gene products expressed at different cell cycle stages. Here, the results of the transcript profiling are further explored, and potential key players in archaeal cell cycle progression are highlighted in an evolutionary context, by comparing gene expression patterns and gene conservation between three selected microbial species from different domains of life. We draw attention to novel putative nucleases and helicases implicated in DNA replication, recombination and repair, as well as to potential genome segregation factors. Focus is also placed upon regulatory features, including transcription factors and protein kinases inferred to be involved in the execution of specific cell cycle stages, and regulation through metabolic coupling is discussed.