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Genome sequence of Desulfitobacterium hafniense DCB-2, a Gram-positive anaerobe capable of dehalogenation and metal reduction

Sang-Hoon Kim1*, Christina Harzman1, John K Davis2, Rachel Hutcheson3, Joan B Broderick3, Terence L Marsh14 and James M Tiedje14

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

2 Department of Biology, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA, USA

3 Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA

4 Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:21  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-21

Published: 8 February 2012



The genome of the Gram-positive, metal-reducing, dehalorespiring Desulfitobacterium hafniense DCB-2 was sequenced in order to gain insights into its metabolic capacities, adaptive physiology, and regulatory machineries, and to compare with that of Desulfitobacterium hafniense Y51, the phylogenetically closest strain among the species with a sequenced genome.


The genome of Desulfitobacterium hafniense DCB-2 is composed of a 5,279,134-bp circular chromosome with 5,042 predicted genes. Genome content and parallel physiological studies support the cell's ability to fix N2 and CO2, form spores and biofilms, reduce metals, and use a variety of electron acceptors in respiration, including halogenated organic compounds. The genome contained seven reductive dehalogenase genes and four nitrogenase gene homologs but lacked the Nar respiratory nitrate reductase system. The D. hafniense DCB-2 genome contained genes for 43 RNA polymerase sigma factors including 27 sigma-24 subunits, 59 two-component signal transduction systems, and about 730 transporter proteins. In addition, it contained genes for 53 molybdopterin-binding oxidoreductases, 19 flavoprotein paralogs of the fumarate reductase, and many other FAD/FMN-binding oxidoreductases, proving the cell's versatility in both adaptive and reductive capacities. Together with the ability to form spores, the presence of the CO2-fixing Wood-Ljungdahl pathway and the genes associated with oxygen tolerance add flexibility to the cell's options for survival under stress.


D. hafniense DCB-2's genome contains genes consistent with its abilities for dehalogenation, metal reduction, N2 and CO2 fixation, anaerobic respiration, oxygen tolerance, spore formation, and biofilm formation which make this organism a potential candidate for bioremediation at contaminated sites.