Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Acetone utilization by sulfate-reducing bacteria: draft genome sequence of Desulfococcus biacutus and a proteomic survey of acetone-inducible proteins

Olga B Gutiérrez Acosta, David Schleheck and Bernhard Schink*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology and Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology, University of Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:584  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-584

Published: 11 July 2014



The sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfococcus biacutus is able to utilize acetone for growth by an inducible degradation pathway that involves a novel activation reaction for acetone with CO as a co-substrate. The mechanism, enzyme(s) and gene(s) involved in this acetone activation reaction are of great interest because they represent a novel and yet undefined type of activation reaction under strictly anoxic conditions.


In this study, a draft genome sequence of D. biacutus was established. Sequencing, assembly and annotation resulted in 159 contigs with 5,242,029 base pairs and 4773 predicted genes; 4708 were predicted protein-encoding genes, and 3520 of these had a functional prediction. Proteins and genes were identified that are specifically induced during growth with acetone. A thiamine diphosphate-requiring enzyme appeared to be highly induced during growth with acetone and is probably involved in the activation reaction. Moreover, a coenzyme B12- dependent enzyme and proteins that are involved in redox reactions were also induced during growth with acetone.


We present for the first time the genome of a sulfate reducer that is able to grow with acetone. The genome information of this organism represents an important tool for the elucidation of a novel reaction mechanism that is employed by a sulfate reducer in acetone activation.

Desulfococcus biacutus; Acetone activation; Genome sequencing; Carbonylation; Thiamine diphosphate