Haloferax volcanii is a moderatly halophilic archaeon that grows optimally at a salt concentration around 2.2 M and a temperature around 42°C. It was isolated from the Dead Sea in 1975 and has been studied ever since. It is a very versatile species that can grow in synthetic medium with a variety of carbon sources. It's genome has been sequenced and is available at www.halolex.mpg.de and at archaea.ucsc.edu. It consists of a 2.85 Mb chromosome and four plasmids. Hfx. volcanii is polyploid, like Halobacterium salinarum and several other archaea.
During recent years many techniques have been established and thus Hfx. volcanii has been developed into an archaeal model species. Examples include functional genomic techniques (transcriptome and proteome analysis) and an advanced genetic system that allows the construction of markerless in-frame deletion mutants and conditional silencing of genes. Biochemical methods are established like protein isolation procedures, the formation of inside-out cell vesicles for transport studies or in vitro assays for RNA processing. A GFP variant was introduced that allows the analysis protein production or intracellular protein localization in the living cell.
Hfx. volcanii is currently used to study many biological processes. These include replication and DNA repair, regulation of gene expression, translation initiation, tRNA maturation, posttranslational modifications (acetylation, glycosylation), the role of chaperonins in protein folding, regulated protein degradation via the proteasome, and protein export via the sec- and the Tat-system. Several enzymes and metabolic pathways are under investigation. Many small non-coding RNAs have been identified and the biological roles of several examples have been analyzed. Relevant literature can be found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez and apps.isiknowledge.com.
This website will be confined to the community of researchers working with Hfx. volcanii and it will serve as a database for deletion and depletion mutants that have been constructed worldwide. It is momentarily under construction and will be available for the community probably by the end of 2009. Feel free to ask questions regarding Hfx. volcanii (soppa[a]bio.uni-frankfurt.de) or the mutant database (fpf[a]biochem.mpg.de).
In mid-November(2009) the community started HaloferaxWiki, a wiki for community annotation of the Haloferax volcanii DS2 genome. The information in this Wiki is freely accessible for everbody.(Posting is restricted to registered users)