Tetrahymena Comparative Database

Project Description

Tetrahymena are free-living ciliate protozoa which exhibit nuclear dimorphism: two types of cell nuclei, a large, somatic macronucleus (MAC) and a small, germline micronucleus (MIC), existing in a single cell at the same time. The MAC genome of T. thermophila has previously been sequenced and annotated, providing a wealth of information on this model organism's basic biology and enabling numerous post-genomic studies. However, these studies would benefit greatly from comparative genomic data. One of the goals of this project is to sequence and annotate the MAC genomes of three additional species of the Tetrahymena genus (T. malaccensis, T. elliotti and T. borealis). The data obtained will allow more accurate mapping of T. thermophila genes and regulatory sequences that control transcription and replication. The second major goal of the project is to sequence and annotate the MIC genome of T. thermophila, which is estimated to contain about 50% more DNA sequence than the MAC genome. Full knowledge of the MIC genome sequence will greatly enable studies of the mechanism behind the programmed genome rearrangement events that remove these sequences during development of the MAC genome.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Coyne, J. Craig Venter Institute
  • Eduardo Orias, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Sean D. Taverna, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Romeo Papazyan, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine