Genome streamlining in a cosmopolitan oceanic bacterium.
The SAR11 clade consists of very small, heterotrophic marine alpha-proteobacteria that are found throughout the oceans, where they account for about 25% of all microbial cells. Pelagibacter ubique, the first cultured member of this clade, has the smallest genome and encodes the smallest number of predicted open reading frames known for a free-living microorganism. In contrast to parasitic bacteria and archaea with small genomes, P. ubique has complete biosynthetic pathways for all 20 amino acids and all but a few cofactors. P. ubique has no pseudogenes, introns, transposons, extrachromosomal elements, or inteins; few paralogs; and the shortest intergenic spacers yet observed for any cell.