Plos Genetics 4(5) (May 2008)
ARTN e1000087 DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000087
The marine bacterium Saccharophagus degradans strain 2-40 (Sde 2-40) is emerging as a vanguard of a recently discovered group of marine and estuarine bacteria that recycles complex polysaccharides. We report its complete genome sequence, analysis of which identifies an unusually large number of enzymes that degrade >10 complex polysaccharides. Not only is this an extraordinary range of catabolic capability, many of the enzymes exhibit unusual architecture including novel combinations of catalytic and substrate-binding modules. We hypothesize that many of these features are adaptations that facilitate depolymerization of complex polysaccharides in the marine environment. This is the first sequenced genome of a marine bacterium that can degrade plant cell walls, an important component of the carbon cycle that is not well-characterized in the marine environment.