On Tuesday 21 May 2019, Tom Berben will defend his PhD thesis
The results presented in this thesis represent an advancement of our knowledge of the oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds by Thioalkalivibrio, a unique group of haloalkaliphilic chemolithoautotrophic Gammaproteobacteriaisolated from soda lakes. We have demonstrated—using a combination of comparative genomics and transcriptomics—that a cluster of genes conserved in ten thiocyanate-utilizing strains is indeed involved in thiocyanate metabolism in vivo. Additionally, we have presented a comprehensive analysis of the distribution and diversity of sulfur genes in the genomes of 75 Thioalkalivibrio strains, highlighting a possible common pathway for sulfur oxidation while reaffirming the complex phylogenetic relation of Thioalkalivibrio with other SOB. Finally, this research provides a number of avenues for future research, such as the function of poorly-annotated genes in the thiocyanate dehydrogenase cluster and the apparent redundancy of sulfite-oxidizing enzyme systems.