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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.  Characterization of the arylsulfatase I (ARSI) gene preferentially expressed in the human retinal pigment epithelium cell line ARPE-19 
Molecular Vision  2009;15:482-494.
The aim of this study was to characterize the arylsulfatase I (ARSI) gene that has been shown to be preferentially expressed in the human retinal pigment epithelium cell line ARPE-19 and to propose it as a candidate gene responsible for inherited eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Full-length cDNA clones encoding ARSI, arylsulfatase A (ARSA), and sulfatase modifying factor 1 (SUMF1) were isolated from ARPE-19 cDNA libraries constructed using the vector-capping method. The expression vectors for their FLAG-tagged proteins were transfected into ARPE-19 cells, and the expression products were characterized by western blot analysis and arylsulfatase assay. The entire region of the ARSI gene locus was sequenced using the genomic DNA samples of 68 RP patients.
Transiently produced ARSI-FLAG was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and was detected in the cellular fraction and the medium. When ARSI-FLAG and SUMF1-FLAG were coexpressed, the conditioned medium of the transfected cells showed arylsulfatase activity at a range of neutral pH. No mutation was found in the ARSI gene locus of the RP patients examined.
ARSI may be a secreted sulfatase and may function in the extracellular space. Although ARSI may not be a causative gene for lysosomal storage diseases, preferentially expressed in the eye, ARSI would be a candidate gene causing inherited eye diseases for future mutation screening.
PMCID: PMC2650720  PMID: 19262745
3.  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
4.  Fine Expression Profiling of Full-length Transcripts using a Size-unbiased cDNA Library Prepared with the Vector-capping Method 
Recently, we have developed a vector-capping method for constructing a full-length cDNA library. In the present study, we performed in-depth analysis of the vector-capped cDNA library prepared from a single type of cell. As a result of single-pass sequencing analysis of 24 000 clones randomly isolated from the unamplified library, we identified 19 951 full-length cDNA clones whose intactness was confirmed by the presence of an additional G at their 5' end. The full-length cDNA content was >95%. Mapping these sequences to the human genome, we identified 4513 transcriptional units that include 36 antisense transcripts against known genes. Comparison of the frequencies of abundant clones showed that the expression profiles of different libraries, including the distribution of transcriptional start sites (TSSs), were reproducible. The analysis of long-sized cDNAs showed that this library contained many cDNAs with a long-sized insert up to 11 199 bp of golgin B, including multiple slicing variants for filamin A and filamin B. These results suggest that the size-unbiased full-length cDNA library constructed using the vector-capping method will be an ideal resource for fine expression profiling of transcriptional variants with alternative TSSs and alternative splicing.
PMCID: PMC2650634  PMID: 18487259
full-length cDNA; expression profile; transcriptional start site; alternative splicing; antisense transcript
5.  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
6.  Mutation screening and haplotype analysis of the rhodopsin gene locus in Japanese patients with retinitis pigmentosa 
Molecular Vision  2007;13:1038-1044.
To identify nucleotide sequence variations in the rhodopsin (RHO) gene of Japanese patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in order to search for mutations or haplotypes responsible for RP.
The entire region of RHO locus including a promoter region and introns was sequenced using blood-derived genomic DNA samples donated by 68 patients with RP and 68 control subjects.
We found 39 single nucleotide substitutions including 17 rare substitutions of less than 1% in frequency, one insertion/deletion polymorphism, and one CA-repeat polymorphism in a 7.8 kbp region spanning the promoter, five exons, and four introns of the RHO gene locus. There were no affected subjects with amino acid substitutions in RHO, and there was 1 control subject with a novel substitution (Ala42Thr) who had no symptoms of RP. Fine analysis of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) revealed eight haplotype structures of the Japanese RHO locus. There was no significant difference between RP patients and controls in terms of haplotype frequency.
No mutation causing an amino acid substitution of RHO was observed in 68 Japanese patients with RP, but 1 control subject did have a novel amino acid substitution. The Japanese RHO locus is comprised of eight major haplotypes. The RP-associated haplotype was not identified. The haplotype-tagging SNPs identified in this study will be useful as markers for the linkage-based screening of RP patients.
PMCID: PMC2776539  PMID: 17653048
7.  Haplotype Based Association Study between t-PA Gene and Essential Hypertension 
Several previous studies have shown that essential hypertension (EH) is associated with fibrinolysis. Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) plays a key role in fibrinolysis. Thus, it is possible that the t-PA gene is a susceptibility gene of EH. However, there have been no reported studies of association between EH and the t-PA gene using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The aim of the present haplotype-based case-control study was to investigate whether SNPs in the human t-PA gene are associated with EH. We performed a genetic association study using 3 SNPs (rs7007329, rs8178750, rs4471024). The subjects were 276 EH patients and 283 age-matched normotensive (NT) individuals. There were no significant differences in overall distribution of genotypes or alleles between EH patients and NT subjects. Also, there were no significant differences in the haplotype-based case-control study. The present results do not indicate an association between the t-PA gene and EH.
PMCID: PMC3614594  PMID: 23674978
tissue plasminogen activator; essential hypertension; haplotype; single nucleotide polymorphism; genetic; association study
8.  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
9.  Pressure Regulation of Soluble Cytochromes c in a Deep-Sea Piezophilic Bacterium, Shewanella violacea 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(10):2945-2952.
Two c-type cytochromes from the soluble fraction of a deep-sea moderately piezophilic bacterium, Shewanella violacea, were purified and characterized, and the genes coding for these cytochromes were cloned and sequenced. One of the cytochromes, designated cytochrome cA, was found to have a molecular mass of approximately 8.3 kDa, and it contained one heme c per molecule. The other, designated cytochrome cB, was found to have a molecular mass of approximately 23 kDa, and it contained two heme c molecules per protein molecule. The amount of cytochrome cB expressed in cells grown at high hydrostatic pressure (50 MPa) was less than that in cells grown at atmospheric pressure, whereas cytochrome cA was constitutively expressed under all pressure conditions examined. The results of Northern blotting analysis were consistent with the above-mentioned observations and suggested that the pressure regulation of cytochrome cB gene expression occurred at the transcriptional level. These results suggest that the components of the respiratory chain of moderately piezophilic S. violacea could be exchanged according to the growth pressure conditions.
PMCID: PMC102006  PMID: 10781566
10.  Culture-Independent Characterization of a Gene Responsible for Nitrogen Fixation in the Symbiotic Microbial Community in the Gut of the Termite Neotermes koshunensis 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1999;65(11):4935-4942.
Expression of the nitrogen fixation gene, nifH, in the gut of the termite Neotermes koshunensis was characterized without cultivation. nifH cDNA was directly amplified from mRNA of the mixed microbial population in the gut by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Analyses of the RT-PCR products revealed that, among the diverse nifH sequences, only a few corresponding to an alternative nitrogenase (encoded by the anf gene) were preferentially transcribed in the termite gut. Expression of the anf gene was further investigated quantitatively under several termite feeding conditions by competitive PCR. The levels of expression of the anf gene were largely congruent with the nitrogen fixation activity displayed by the termite. The amounts of the genomic anf gene in the population showed no significant change, indicating that the level of expression was critical for nitrogen fixation activity. Interestingly, no significant decrease in the expression level was observed when the diet contained molybdenum (Mo), which represses ordinary anf genes. A 3.6-kb DNA region downstream of the anf gene was isolated and found to contain reading frames homologous to anfH, anfD, and anfG of the Bacteria domain which encode subunits of an alternative nitrogenase having no Mo as a cofactor. This DNA region also contained reading frames encoding glnB-like proteins, which is a common feature of the nitrogenase genes of the Archaea domain. These results indicate that the anf group of nitrogenase genes is the most important group of genes responsible for nitrogen fixation in N. koshunensis and that the anf gene possesses novel features with respect to the regulation of its expression and its gene organization.
PMCID: PMC91664  PMID: 10543806
11.  Outer Membrane Changes in a Toluene-Sensitive Mutant of Toluene-Tolerant Pseudomonas putida IH-2000 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(15):4493-4498.
We isolated a toluene-sensitive mutant, named mutant No. 32, which showed unchanged antibiotic resistance levels, from toluene-tolerant Pseudomonas putida IH-2000 by transposon mutagenesis with Tn5. The gene disrupted by insertion of Tn5 was identified as cyoC, which is one of the subunits of cytochrome o. The membrane protein, phospholipid, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of IH-2000 and that of mutant No. 32 were examined and compared. Some of the outer membrane proteins showed a decrease in mutant No. 32. The fatty acid components of LPS were found to be dodecanoic acid, 2-hydroxydodecanoic acid, 3-hydroxydodecanoic acid, and 3-hydroxydecanoic acid in both IH-2000 and No. 32; however, the relative proportions of these components differed in the two strains. Furthermore, cell surface hydrophobicity was increased in No. 32. These data suggest that mutation of cyoC caused the decrease in outer membrane proteins and the changing fatty acid composition of LPS. These changes in the outer membrane would cause an increase in cell surface hydrophobicity, and mutant No. 32 is considered to be sensitive to toluene.
PMCID: PMC103577  PMID: 10419944

Results 1-11 (11)