Diversity of Chlorophototrophic Bacteria Revealed in the Omics Era

Vera Thiel, Marcus Tank, Donald A. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Because of recent advances in omics methodologies, knowledge of chlorophototrophy (i.e., chlorophyll-based phototrophy) in bacteria has rapidly increased. Chlorophototrophs currently are known to occur in seven bacterial phyla: Cyanobacteria, Proteobacteria, Chlorobi, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, and Gemmatimonadetes. Other organisms that can produce chlorophylls and photochemical reaction centers may still be undiscovered. Here we summarize the current status of the taxonomy and phylogeny of chlorophototrophic bacteria as revealed by genomic methods. In specific cases, we briefly describe important ecophysiological and metabolic insights that have been gained from the application of genomic methods to these bacteria. In the 20 years since the completion of the Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 genome in 1996, approximately 1,100 genomes have been sequenced, which represents nearly the complete diversity of known chlorophototrophic bacteria. These data are leading to new insights into many important processes, including photosynthesis, nitrogen and carbon fixation, cellular differentiation and development, symbiosis, and ecosystem functionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-49
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
StatePublished - Apr 29 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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