A major cluster was detected in the strictly anaerobic, Gram-positive phototrophic bacterium . The cluster consisted of 11 genes arranged within a 10 kb region in the order , , , , , , , , , and . The phylogenetic position of was the same in the NifH, NifD, NifK, NifE and NifN trees; formed a cluster with , the closest neighbour of heliobacteria based on the 16S rRNA phylogeny, and two species of the genus belonging to the . Two genes, known to occur in the clusters of methanogenic archaea between and , were found upstream of the gene of . The organization of the operon and the phylogeny of individual and concatenated gene products showed that the operon carrying genes upstream of the gene was an intermediate between the operon with downstream of (group II and III of the nitrogenase classification) and the operon lacking (group I). Thus, the phylogenetic position of nitrogenase may reflect an evolutionary stage of a divergence of the two nitrogenase groups, with group I consisting of the aerobic diazotrophs and group II consisting of strictly anaerobic prokaryotes.


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