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1.  Thermophilic and halophilic β-agarase from a halophilic archaeon Halococcus sp. 197A 
Extremophiles  2013;17(6):931-939.
An agar-degrading archaeon Halococcus sp. 197A was isolated from a solar salt sample. The agarase was purified by hydrophobic column chromatography using a column of TOYOPEARL Phenyl-650 M. The molecular mass of the purified enzyme, designated as Aga-HC, was ~55 kDa on both SDS-PAGE and gel-filtration chromatography. Aga-HC released degradation products in the order of neoagarohexose, neoagarotetraose and small quantity of neoagarobiose, indicating that Aga-HC was a β-type agarase. Aga-HC showed a salt requirement for both stability and activity, being active from 0.3 M NaCl, with maximal activity at 3.5 M NaCl. KCl supported similar activities as NaCl up to 3.5 M, and LiCl up to 2.5 M. These monovalent salts could not be substituted by 3.5 M divalent cations, CaCl2 or MgCl2. The optimal pH was 6.0. Aga-HC was thermophilic, with optimum temperature of 70 °C. Aga-HC retained approximately 90 % of the initial activity after incubation for 1 hour at 65–80 °C, and retained 50 % activity after 1 hour at 95 °C. In the presence of additional 10 mM CaCl2, approximately 17 % remaining activity was detected after 30 min at 100 °C. This is the first report on agarase purified from Archaea.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00792-013-0575-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3824881  PMID: 23949137
Halococcus; Thermophilic; Halophilic; β-agarase
2.  Acidophilic haloarchaeal strains are isolated from various solar salts 
Saline Systems  2008;4:16.
Haloarchaeal strains require high concentrations of NaCl for their growth, with optimum concentrations of 10–30%. They display a wide variety of morphology and physiology including pH range for growth. Many strains grow at neutral to slightly alkaline pH, and some only at alkaline pH. However, no strain has been reported to grow only in acidic pH conditions within the family Halobacteriaceae.
In this study, we isolated many halophiles capable of growth in a 20% NaCl medium adjusted to pH 4.5 from 28 commercially available salts. They showed growth at pH 4.0 to 6.5, depending slightly on the magnesium content. The most acidophilic strain MH1-52-1 isolated from an imported solar salt (pH of saturated solution was 9.0) was non-pigmented and extremely halophilic. It was only capable of growing at pH 4.2–4.8 with an optimum at pH 4.4 in a medium with 0.1% magnesium chloride, and at pH 4.0–6.0 (optimum at pH 4.0) in a medium with 5.0% magnesium. The 16S rRNA and DNA-dependent RNA polymerase subunit B' gene sequences demonstrated clearly that the strain MH1-52-1 represents a new genus in the family Halobacteriaceae.
PMCID: PMC2583988  PMID: 18957135
3.  A traditional Japanese-style salt field is a niche for haloarchaeal strains that can survive in 0.5% salt solution 
Saline Systems  2007;3:2.
Most of the haloarchaeal strains have been isolated from hypersaline environments such as solar evaporation ponds, salt lakes, or salt deposits, and they, with some exceptions, lyse or lose viability in very low-salt concentrations. There are no salty environments suitable for the growth of haloarchaea in Japan. Although Natrialba asiatica and Haloarcula japonica were isolated many years ago, the question, "Are haloarchaea really thriving in natural environments of Japan?" has remained unanswered.
Ten strains were isolated from a traditional Japanese-style salt field at Nie, Noto Peninsula, Japan by plating out the soil samples directly on agar plates containing 30% (w/v) salts and 0.5% yeast extract. They were most closely related to strains of three genera, Haladaptatus, Halococcus, and Halogeometricum. Survival rates in 3% and 0.5% SW (Salt Water, solutions containing salts in approximately the same proportions as found in seawater) solutions at 37°C differed considerably depending on the strains. Two strains belonging to Halogeometricum as well as the type strain Hgm. borinquense died and lysed immediately after suspension. Five strains that belonged to Halococcus and a strain that may be a member of Halogeometricum survived for 1–2 days in 0.5% SW solution. Two strains most closely related to Haladaptatus possessed extraordinary strong tolerance to low salt conditions. About 20 to 34% of the cells remained viable in 0.5% SW after 9 days incubation.
In this study we have demonstrated that haloarchaea are really thriving in the soil of Japanese-style salt field. The haloarchaeal cells, particularly the fragile strains are suggested to survive in the micropores of smaller size silt fraction, one of the components of soil. The inside of the silt particles is filled with concentrated salt solution and kept intact even upon suspension in rainwater. Possible origins of the haloarchaea isolated in this study are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1828056  PMID: 17346353
4.  Endospores of halophilic bacteria of the family Bacillaceae isolated from non-saline Japanese soil may be transported by Kosa event (Asian dust storm) 
Saline Systems  2005;1:8.
Generally, extremophiles have been deemed to survive in the extreme environments to which they had adapted to grow. Recently many extremophiles have been isolated from places where they are not expected to grow. Alkaliphilic microorganisms have been isolated from acidic soil samples with pH 4.0, and thermophiles have been isolated from samples of low temperature. Numerous moderately halophilic microorganisms, defined as those that grow optimally in media containing 0.5–2.5 Molar (3–15%) NaCl, and halotolerant microorganisms that are able to grow in media without added NaCl and in the presence of high NaCl have been isolated from saline environments such as salterns, salt lakes and sea sands. It has tacitly been believed that habitats of halophiles able to grow in media containing more than 20% (3.4 M) are restricted to saline environments, and no reports have been published on the isolation of halophiles from ordinary garden soil samples.
We demonstrated that many halophilic bacteria that are able to grow in the presence of 20% NaCl are inhabiting in non-saline environments such as ordinary garden soils, yards, fields and roadways in an area surrounding Tokyo, Japan. Analyses of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences of 176 isolates suggested that they were halophiles belonging to genera of the family Bacillaceae, Bacillus (11 isolates), Filobacillus (19 isolates), Gracilibacillus (6 isolates), Halobacillus (102 isolates), Lentibacillus (1 isolate), Paraliobacillus (5 isolates) and Virgibacillus (17 isolates). Sequences of 15 isolates showed similarities less than 92%, suggesting that they may represent novel taxa within the family Bacillaceae.
The numbers of total bacteria of inland soil samples were in a range from 1.4 × 107/g to 1.1 × 106/g. One tenth of the total bacteria was occupied by endospore-forming bacteria. Only very few of the endospore-forming bacteria, roughly 1 out of 20,000, are halophilic bacteria. Most of the halophilic bacteria were surviving as endospores in the soil samples, in a range of less than 1 to about 500/g soil. Samples collected from seashore in a city confronting Tokyo Bay gave the total numbers of bacteria and endospores roughly 1000 time smaller than those of inland soil samples. Numbers of halophilic bacteria per gram, however, were almost the same as those of inland soil samples. A possible source of the halophilic endospore originating from Asian dust storms is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1283985  PMID: 16242015
5.  Intragenomic Heterogeneity and Intergenomic Recombination among Haloarchaeal rRNA Genes 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(12):3980-3990.
More than one copy of rRNA operons, which code for both the small-subunit (SSU) and large-subunit (LSU) rRNA, are often found in prokaryotes. It is generally assumed that all rRNA operons within a single cell are almost identical. A notable exception is the extremely halophilic archaeal genus Haloarcula, most species of which are known to harbor highly divergent rRNA operons that differ at ∼5% of the nucleotide positions in the SSU gene and at 1 to 2% of the nucleotide positions in the LSU gene. We report that such intragenomic heterogeneity is not unique to Haloarcula, as high levels of intragenomic sequence variation have been observed for the SSU genes of two other genera of extreme halophiles, Halosimplex and Natrinema. To investigate this in detail, the two rRNA operons of Halosimplex carlsbadense and the four operons of Natrinema sp. strain XA3-1 were cloned and completely sequenced. The SSU and LSU genes of H. carlsbadense show the highest levels of intragenomic heterogeneity observed so far in archaea (6.7 and 2.6%). The operons of Natrinema sp. strain XA3-1 have additional unusual characteristics, such as identical internal transcribed spacers, while one of four SSU genes is 5% divergent and all LSU genes differ from each other by 0.9 to 1.9%. The heterogeneity among the Natrinema sp. strain XA3-1 LSU genes is localized in hot spots, and one of these regions is shown to be the result of a recombination event with a distantly related halophile. This is the first example of interspecies recombination between rRNA genes in archaea, and the recombination occurred over one of the largest phylogenetic distances ever reported for such an event. We suggest that intragenomic heterogeneity of rRNA operons is an ancient and stable trait in several lineages of the Halobacteriales. The impact of this phenomenon on the taxonomy of extremely halophilic archaea is discussed.
PMCID: PMC419955  PMID: 15175312
6.  Production of 5′ Nucleotide by Using Halophilic Nuclease H Preferentially Adsorbed on Flocculated Cells of the Halophile Micrococcus varians subsp. halophilus 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1988;54(11):2632-2635.
A bioreactor with a column of flocculated cells of the moderate halophile Micrococcus varians subsp. halophilus which adsorbed the halophilic nuclease H was designed to be used in the production of 5′ nucleotides from RNA. A remarkable characteristic of the flocculated cells was that they preferentially adsorbed much exogenous nuclease, excluding adsorbed 5′ nucleotidase. Furthermore, desalting treatment of the flocculated cells in the presence of 2% MgSO4 · 7H2O gave rise to selective inactivation of 5′ nucleotidase without the loss of nuclease H activity, and 5′-guanylic acid was produced with the bioreactor.
PMCID: PMC204347  PMID: 16347767
7.  Lysis of Halobacteria in Bacto-Peptone by Bile Acids 
All tested strains of halophilic archaebacteria of the genera Halobacterium, Haloarcula, Haloferax, and Natronobacterium lysed in 1% Bacto-Peptone (Difco) containing 25% NaCl, whereas no lysis was observed with other strains belonging to archaebacteria of the genera Halococcus, Natronococcus, and Sulfolobus, methanogenic bacteria, and moderately halophilic eubacteria. Substances in Bacto-Peptone which caused lysis of halobacteria were purified and identified as taurocholic acid and glycocholic acid. High-performance liquid chromatography analyses of peptones revealed that Bacto-Peptone contained nine different bile acids, with a total content of 9.53 mg/g, whereas much lower amounts were found in Peptone Bacteriological Technical (Difco) and Oxoid Peptone. Different kinds of peptones can be used to distinguish halophilic eubacteria and archaebacteria in mixed cultures from hypersaline environments.
PMCID: PMC202585  PMID: 16347619
8.  Halophilic Nuclease of a Moderately Halophilic Bacillus sp.: Production, Purification, and Characterization 
A moderately halophilic bacterium, Bacillus sp., isolated from rotting wood on the seashore in Nauru, produced an extracellular nuclease when cultivated aerobically in media containing 1 to 2 M NaCl. The enzyme was purified from the culture filtrate to an electrophoretically homogeneous state by ethanol precipitation, DEAE-Sephadex A-50 column chromatography, and Sephadex G-200 gel filtration. The enzyme consisted of two charge isomers and showed both RNase and DNase activities. Molecular weight was estimated to be 138,000 by Sephadex G-200 gel filtration. The enzyme had marked halophilic properties, showing maximal activities in the presence of 1.4 to 3.2 M NaCl or 2.3 to 3.2 M KCl. The enzyme hydrolyzed thymidine-5′-monophosphate-p-nitrophenyl ester at a rate that increased with NaCl concentration up to 4.8 M. In the presence of both Mg2+ and Ca2+, activity was greatly enhanced. The activity was lost by dialysis against water and low-salt buffer, but it was protected when 10 mM Ca2+ was added to the dialysis buffer. When the inactivated enzyme was dialyzed against 3.5 M NaCl buffer as much as 68% of the initial activity could be restored. The enzyme exhibited maximal activity at pH 8.5 and at 50°C on DNA and at 60°C on RNA and attacked RNA and DNA exonucleolytically and successively, producing 5′-mononucleotides.
PMCID: PMC242226  PMID: 16346168
9.  Halophilic Nuclease from a Moderately Halophilic Micrococcus varians 
Journal of Bacteriology  1974;119(2):339-344.
The moderately halophilic bacterium Micrococcus varians, isolated from soy sauce mash, produced extracellular nuclease when cultivated aerobically in media containing 1 to 4 M NaCl or KCl. The enzyme, purified to an electrophoretically homogeneous state, had both ribonuclease and deoxyribonuclease activities. The nuclease had maximal activity in the presence of 2.9 M NaCl or 2.1 M KCl at 40 C. The enzymatic activity was lost by dialysis against low-salt buffer, whereas when the inactivated enzyme was dialyzed against 3.4 M NaCl buffer as much as 77% of the initial activity could be restored.
PMCID: PMC245612  PMID: 4852218
10.  Protease Formation by a Moderately Halophilic Bacillus Strain 
Applied Microbiology  1974;27(4):809-810.
A moderately halophilic strain of Bacillus, isolated from unrefined solar salt, was capable of growth in the presence of 4 M NaCl. Maximal growth was obtained in a medium containing 1 to 2 M NaCl. The organism produced protease when cultivated aerobically in media containing 0 to 3 M NaCl or 0 to 2 M KCl. The protease activity was optimal at 0.5 M NaCl and 0.75 M KCl.
PMCID: PMC380141  PMID: 4825983

Results 1-10 (10)