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Fractal Analysis of 16S rRNA Gene Sequences in Archaea Thermophiles

Authors: T. Holden, G. Tremberger, Jr, E. Cheung, R. Subramaniam, R. Sullivan, N. Gadura, P. Schneider, P. Marchese, A. Flamholz, T. Cheung, D. Lieberman


A nucleotide sequence can be expressed as a numerical sequence when each nucleotide is assigned its proton number. A resulting gene numerical sequence can be investigated for its fractal dimension in terms of evolution and chemical properties for comparative studies. We have investigated such nucleotide fluctuation in the 16S rRNA gene of archaea thermophiles. The studied archaea thermophiles were archaeoglobus fulgidus, methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus, methanocaldococcus jannaschii, pyrococcus horikoshii, and thermoplasma acidophilum. The studied five archaea-euryarchaeota thermophiles have fractal dimension values ranging from 1.93 to 1.97. Computer simulation shows that random sequences would have an average of about 2 with a standard deviation about 0.015. The fractal dimension was found to correlate (negative correlation) with the thermophile-s optimal growth temperature with R2 value of 0.90 (N =5). The inclusion of two aracheae-crenarchaeota thermophiles reduces the R2 value to 0.66 (N = 7). Further inclusion of two bacterial thermophiles reduces the R2 value to 0.50 (N =9). The fractal dimension is correlated (positive) to the sequence GC content with an R2 value of 0.89 for the five archaea-euryarchaeota thermophiles (and 0.74 for the entire set of N = 9), although computer simulation shows little correlation. The highest correlation (positive) was found to be between the fractal dimension and di-nucleotide Shannon entropy. However Shannon entropy and sequence GC content were observed to correlate with optimal growth temperature having an R2 of 0.8 (negative), and 0.88 (positive), respectively, for the entire set of 9 thermophiles; thus the correlation lacks species specificity. Together with another correlation study of bacterial radiation dosage with RecA repair gene sequence fractal dimension, it is postulated that fractal dimension analysis is a sensitive tool for studying the relationship between genotype and phenotype among closely related sequences.

Keywords: Fractal dimension, archaea thermophiles, Shannon entropy, GC content

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