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1.  Characterization of an archaeal malic enzyme from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 
Archaea  2005;1(5):293-301.
Although the interconversion between C4 and C3 compounds has an important role in overall metabolism, limited information is available on the properties and regulation of enzymes acting on these metabolites in hyperthermophilic archaea. Malic enzyme is one of the enzymes involved in this interconversion, catalyzing the oxidative decarboxylation of malate to pyruvate as well as the reductive carboxylation coupled with NAD(P)H. This study focused on the enzymatic properties and expression profile of an uncharacterized homolog of malic enzyme identified in the genome of a heterotrophic, hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 (Tk-Mae). The amino acid sequence of Tk-Mae was 52–58% identical to those of malic enzymes from bacteria, whereas the similarities to the eukaryotic homologs were lower. Several catalytically important regions and residues were conserved in the primary structure of Tk-Mae. The recombinant protein, which formed a homodimer, exhibited thermostable malic enzyme activity with strict divalent cation dependency. The enzyme preferred NADP+ rather than NAD+, but did not catalyze the decarboxylation of oxaloacetate, unlike the usual NADP-dependent malic enzymes. The apparent Michaelis constant (Km) of Tk-Mae for malate (16.9 mM) was much larger than those of known enzymes, leading to no strong preference for the reaction direction. Transcription of the gene encoding Tk-Mae and intracellular malic enzyme activity in T. kodakaraensis were constitutively weak, regardless of the growth substrates. Possible roles of Tk-Mae are discussed based on these results and the metabolic pathways of T. kodakaraensis deduced from the genome sequence.
PMCID: PMC2685551  PMID: 15876562
carbon metabolism; hyperthermophile; malate; pyruvate; tricarboxylic acid cycle
2.  Description of Thermococcus kodakaraensis sp. nov., a well studied hyperthermophilic archaeon previously reported as Pyrococcus sp. KOD1 
Archaea  2004;1(4):263-267.
A hyperthermophilic archaeal strain, KOD1, isolated from a solfatara on Kodakara Island, Japan, has previously been reported as Pyrococcus sp. KOD1. However, a detailed phylogenetic tree, made possible by the recent accumulation of 16S rRNA sequences of various species in the order Thermococcales, indicated that strain KOD1 is a member of the genus Thermococcus. We performed DNA–DNA hybridization tests against species that displayed high similarity in terms of 16S ribosomal DNA sequences, including Thermococcus peptonophilus and Thermococcus stetteri. Hybridization results and differences in growth characteristics and substrate utilization differentiated strain KOD1 from T. peptonophilus and T. stetteri at the species level. Our results indicate that strain KOD1 represents a new species of Thermococcus, which we designate as Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 sp. nov.
PMCID: PMC2685570  PMID: 15810436
Archaea; classification; hyperthermophile; taxonomy; Thermococcales
3.  Pyrobaculum calidifontis sp. nov., a novel hyperthermophilic archaeon that grows in atmospheric air 
Archaea  2002;1(2):113-121.
A novel, facultatively aerobic, heterotrophic hyperthermophilic archaeon was isolated from a terrestrial hot spring in the Philippines. Cells of the new isolate, strain VA1, were rod-shaped with a length of 1.5 to 10 μm and a width of 0.5 to 1.0 μm. Isolate VA1 grew optimally at 90 to 95 °C and pH 7.0 under atmospheric air. Oxygen served as a final electron acceptor under aerobic growth conditions, and vigorous shaking of the medium significantly enhanced growth. Elemental sulfur inhibited cell growth under aerobic growth conditions, whereas thiosulfate stimulated cell growth. Under anaerobic growth conditions, nitrate served as a final electron acceptor, but nitrite or sulfur-containing compounds such as elemental sulfur, thiosulfate, sulfate and sulfite could not act as final electron acceptors. The G+C content of the genomic DNA was 51 mol%. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA sequences indicated that strain VA1 exhibited close relationships to species of the genus Pyrobaculum. A DNA–DNA hybridization study revealed a low level of similarity (≤ 18%) between strain VA1 and previously described members of the genus Pyrobaculum. Physiological characteristics also indicated that strain VA1 was distinct from these Pyrobaculum species. Our results indicate that isolate VA1 represents a novel species, named Pyrobaculum calidifontis.
PMCID: PMC2685560  PMID: 15803649
aerobic respiration; hyperthermophile; nitrate respiration

Results 1-3 (3)