Open Access

Complete genome sequence of the aerobic, heterotroph Marinithermus hydrothermalis type strain (T1T) from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney

  • Alex Copeland
  • , Wei Gu
  • , Montri Yasawong
  • , Alla Lapidus
  • , Susan Lucas
  • , Shweta Deshpande
  • , Ioanna Pagani
  • , Roxanne Tapia,
  • , Jan-Fang Cheng
  • , Lynne A. Goodwin,
  • , Sam Pitluck
  • , Konstantinos Liolios
  • , Natalia Ivanova
  • , Konstantinos Mavromatis
  • , Natalia Mikhailova
  • , Amrita Pati
  • , Amy Chen
  • , Krishna Palaniappan
  • , Miriam Land,
  • , Chongle Pan,
  • , Evelyne-Marie Brambilla
  • , Manfred Rohde
  • , Brian J. Tindall
  • , Johannes Sikorski
  • , Markus Göker
  • , John C. Detter,
  • , James Bristow
  • , Jonathan A. Eisen,
  • , Victor Markowitz
  • , Philip Hugenholtz,
  • , Nikos C. Kyrpides
  • , Hans-Peter Klenk
  • and Tanja Woyke
Corresponding author

DOI: 10.4056/sigs.2435521

Received: 05 March 2012

Published: 19 March 2012


Marinithermus hydrothermalis Sako et al. 2003 is the type species of the monotypic genus Marinithermus. M. hydrothermalis T1T was the first isolate within the phylum “Thermus-Deinococcus” to exhibit optimal growth under a salinity equivalent to that of sea water and to have an absolute requirement for NaCl for growth. M. hydrothermalis T1T is of interest because it may provide a new insight into the ecological significance of the aerobic, thermophilic decomposers in the circulation of organic compounds in deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems. This is the first completed genome sequence of a member of the genus Marinithermus and the seventh sequence from the family Thermaceae. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence and annotation. The 2,269,167 bp long genome with its 2,251 protein-coding and 59 RNA genes is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.


strictly aerobicnon-motilethermophilicneutrophilic heterotrophGram-negativehydrothermal ventThermaceaeGEBA


Strain T1T (= DSM 14884 = JCM 11576) is the type strain of the species M. hydrothermalis, which is the type species of the monotypic genus Marinithermus [1,2]. The genus name is derived from the Latin word 'marinus' meaning 'of the sea' and the latinized Greek word 'thermos' meaning 'hot', yielding the Neo-Latin word 'Marinithermus' meaning 'an organism living in hot marine places' [1]. The species epithet is derived from the Neo-Latin word 'hydrothermalis' (pertaining to a hydrothermal vent) [1]. Strain T1T was isolated in November 2000 from the surface zone of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney at Suiyo Seamount in the Izu-Bonin Arc, Japan, at a depth of 1,385 m [1]. M. hydrothermalis was the first isolate within the phylum “Thermus-Deinococcus” that grew optimally under a salinity equivalent to that of sea water [1]. The absolute requirement of NaCl for growth distinguishes M. hydrothermalis from members of the genera Thermus and Meiothermus [1,3]. No further isolates have been reported for M. hydrothermalis. Here we present a summary classification and a set of features for M. hydrothermalis T1T, together with the description of the complete genomic sequencing and annotation.

Classification and features

A representative genomic 16S rRNA sequence of M. hydrothermalis T1T was compared using NCBI BLAST [4,5] under default settings (e.g., considering only the high-scoring segment pairs (HSPs) from the best 250 hits) with the most recent release of the Greengenes database [6] and the relative frequencies of taxa and keywords (reduced to their stem [7]) were determined, weighted by BLAST scores. The most frequently occurring genera were Thermus (91.0%), Oceanithermus (4.9%), Marinithermus (3.3%) and Thermothrix (0.8%) (118 hits in total). Regarding the two hits to sequences from members of the species, the average identity within HSPs was 100.0%, whereas the average coverage by HSPs was 98.0%. Among all other species, the one yielding the highest score was O. profundus (NR_027212), which corresponded to an identity of 91.9% and HSP coverage of 93.3%. (Note that the Greengenes database uses the INSDC (= EMBL/NCBI/DDBJ) annotation, which is not an authoritative source for nomenclature or classification.) The highest-scoring environmental sequence was EU555123 [8] ('Microbial Sulfide Hydrothermal Vent Field Juan de Fuca Ridge Dudley hydrothermal vent clone 4132B16'), which showed an identity of 91.6% and HSP coverage of 92.1%. The most frequently occurring keywords within the labels of all environmental samples which yielded hits were 'spring' (6.9%), 'hot' (5.3%), 'microbi' (3.7%), 'nation, park, yellowston' (3.2%) and 'skin' (3.0%) (132 hits in total). Environmental samples which yielded hits of a higher score than the highest scoring species were not found. These key words are in accordance with the biotope of the strain T1T in the original description [1], although 'skin' indicates the possible presence of relatives in a moderate environment.

Figure 1 shows the phylogenetic neighborhood of M. hydrothermalis T1T in a 16S rRNA based tree. The sequences of the three identical 16S rRNA gene copies in the genome differ by two nucleotides from the previously published 16S rRNA sequence (AB079382).

Figure 1

Phylogenetic tree highlighting the position of M. hydrothermalis relative to the type strains of the other species within the family Thermaceae. The tree was inferred from 1,426 aligned characters [9,10] of the 16S rRNA gene sequence under the maximum likelihood (ML) criterion [11]. Rooting was done initially using the midpoint method [12] and then checked for its agreement with the current classification (Table 1). The branches are scaled in terms of the expected number of substitutions per site. Numbers adjacent to the branches are support values from 850 ML bootstrap replicates [13] (left) and from 1,000 maximum-parsimony bootstrap replicates [14] (right) if larger than 60%. Lineages with type strain genome sequencing projects registered in GOLD [15] are labeled with an asterisk, those also listed as 'Complete and Published' with two asterisks [16-19].

The cells of strain T1T are Gram-negative, non-motile, straight rods measuring 7.5 - 9.4 µm by 0.9 - 1.0 µm during the exponential growth phase [1] (Figure 2 and Table 1). In the stationary growth phase the cells tend to form filaments [1]. Rotund bodies were not observed from the cells [1]. Cells of strain T1T have an envelope which consists of a cytoplasmic membrane with a simple outline and a cell wall with an inner, electron-dense thin layer, which presumably represents the peptidoglycan [1]. Colonies are whitish and have 2.5 - 3.0 mm of diameter [1]. The organism is an obligate heterotroph and grows only under strictly aerobic culture conditions [1]. Growth was not observed in anaerobic or autotrophic culture conditions [1]. However, it should be noted that according to Mori and colleagues [32] this was tested only in the presence of sulfide. Steinsbu and colleagues [3] argue that it is therefore possible that M. hydrothermalis has the capability of anaerobic growth under unreduced conditions, as has been observed for Rhabdothermus arcticus, Vulcanithermus mediatlanticus, O. profundus and O. desulfurans [3,32-34]. Unlike members of the genus Thermus, reactions were negative for catalase- and cytochrome oxidase and hydrolysis of gelatin, starch or casein was negative [1]. Growth occurs over the temperature range of 50.0 - 72.5°C (optimum 67.5°C), pH range 6.25 - 7.75 (optimum pH 7.0), and at NaCl concentrations in the range 0.5 - 4.5% (optimum 3%) [1]. The generation time under the above listed optimal condition and in medium MJYPV is about 30 minutes [1]. M. hydrothermalis T1T differs from the members of the genera Oceanithermus by having a higher optimal temperature for growth and a higher oxygen tolerance [3]. Strain T1T is able to utilize complex organic substrates such as Casamino acids, tryptone and yeast extract as sole energy and carbon sources [1].

Figure 2

Scanning electron micrograph of M. hydrothermalis T1T

Table 1

Classification and general features of M. hydrothermalis T1T according to the MIGS recommendations [20] and the NamesforLife database [21].




    Evidence code

    Current classification

      Domain Bacteria

    TAS [22]

      Phylum "Deinococcus-Thermus"

    TAS [23-25]

      Class Deinococci

    TAS [26,27]

      Order Thermales

    TAS [26,28]

      Family Thermaceae

    TAS [26,29]

      Genus Marinithermus

    TAS [1]

      Species Marinithermus hydrothermalis

    TAS [1]

      Type strain T1

    TAS [1]

    Gram stain


    TAS [1]

    Cell shape

      straight rods

    TAS [1]



    TAS [1]




    Temperature range


    TAS [1]

    Optimum temperature


    TAS [1]


      0.5-4.5%, optimum 3% NaCl

    TAS [1]


    Oxygen requirement

      strictly aerobic

    TAS [1]

    Carbon source

      casamino acids, yeast extract, tryptone

    TAS [1]

    Energy metabolism

      neutrophilic heterotroph

    TAS [1]



      deep-sea, hydrothermal vent, marine

    TAS [1]


    Biotic relationship





      not reported

    Biosafety level


    TAS [30]


      deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimny

    TAS [1]


    Geographic location

      Suiyo Seamount, Izu-Bonin Arc, Japan

    TAS [1]


    Sample collection time

      November 2000

    TAS [1]




    TAS [1]




    TAS [1]



      1,385 m

    TAS [1]



      - 1,385 m

    TAS [1]

Evidence codes - NAS: Non-traceable Author Statement (i.e., not directly observed for the living, isolated sample, but based on a generally accepted property for the species, or anecdotal evidence). These evidence codes are from the Gene Ontology project [31].

Strain T1T shares with its closest related genome-sequenced neighbors, O. profundus [17], Meiothermus silvanus [18] and Thermus thermophilus [16] (Figure 1), the presence of two linked 5S-23S rRNA gene clusters, with two 16S rRNA genes located separately in the genomes, but has one surplus, third 16S rRNA gene copy.


The major cellular fatty acids of strain T1T, when grown at 67.5°C, were iso-C15:0 (40.4%), iso-C17:0 (28.5%), C16:0 (12.9%), anteiso-C15:0 (6.0%), anteiso-C17:0 (5.4%), iso-C16:0 (2.8%) and iso 3-OH C11:0 (1.0%). Menaquinone-8 was the major respiratory quinone. The fatty acid and respiratory quinone composition were similar to those of members of the genus Thermus, as described previously [35,36]. However, the presence of iso 3-OH C11:0 in strain T1T distinguishes it from Thermus species [1].

Genome sequencing and annotation

Genome project history

This organism was selected for sequencing on the basis of its phylogenetic position [37], and is part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project [38]. The genome project is deposited in the Genomes OnLine Database [15] and the complete genome sequence is deposited in GenBank. Sequencing, finishing and annotation were performed by the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI). A summary of the project information is shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Genome sequencing project information





   Finishing quality



   Libraries used

    Four genomic libraries: one 454 pyrosequence standard library, two 454 PE libraries (7.0 kb insert size), one Illumina library


   Sequencing platforms

    Illumina GAii, 454 GS FLX Titanium


   Sequencing coverage

    1,608.4 × Illumina; 58.1 × pyrosequence



    Newbler version 2.3, Velvet version 0.7.63, phrap version SPS - 4.24


   Gene calling method

    Prodigal 1.4, GenePRIMP



   Genbank Date of Release

    April 15, 2011



   NCBI project ID


   Database: IMG-GEBA



   Source material identifier

    DSM 14884

   Project relevance

    Tree of Life, GEBA

Growth conditions and DNA isolation

M. hydrothermalis T1T, DSM 14884, was grown in DSMZ medium 973 (Marinithermus hydrothermalis medium) [39] at 70°C. DNA was isolated from 0.5-1 g of cell paste using MasterPure Gram-positive DNA purification kit (Epicentre MGP04100) following the standard protocol as recommended by the manufacturer, with modification st/DL for cell lysis as described in Wu et al. [38]. DNA is available through the DNA Bank Network [40].

Genome sequencing and assembly

The genome was sequenced using a combination of Illumina and 454 sequencing platforms. All general aspects of library construction and sequencing can be found at the JGI website [41]. Pyrosequencing reads were assembled using the Newbler assembler (Roche). The initial Newbler assembly consisting of 70 contigs in one scaffold was converted into a phrap [42] assembly by making fake reads from the consensus, to collect the read pairs in the 454 paired end library. Illumina GAii sequencing data (3,943.0 Mb) was assembled with Velvet [43] and the consensus sequences were shredded into 2.0 kb overlapped fake reads and assembled together with the 454 data. The 454 draft assembly was based on 167.5 Mb 454 draft data and all of the 454 paired end data. Newbler parameters are -consed -a 50 -l 350 -g -m -ml 20. The Phred/Phrap/Consed software package [42] was used for sequence assembly and quality assessment in the subsequent finishing process. After the shotgun stage, reads were assembled with parallel phrap (High Performance Software, LLC). Possible mis-assemblies were corrected with gapResolution [41], Dupfinisher [44], or sequencing cloned bridging PCR fragments with subcloning. Gaps between contigs were closed by editing in Consed, by PCR and by Bubble PCR primer walks (J.-F. Chang, unpublished). A total of 97 additional reactions were necessary to close gaps and to raise the quality of the finished sequence. Illumina reads were also used to correct potential base errors and increase consensus quality using a software Polisher developed at JGI [45]. The error rate of the completed genome sequence is less than 1 in 100,000. Together, the combination of the Illumina and 454 sequencing platforms provided 1,666.5 × coverage of the genome. The final assembly contained 458,684 pyrosequence and 48,027,166 Illumina reads.

Genome annotation

Genes were identified using Prodigal [46] as part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory genome annotation pipeline, followed by a round of manual curation using the JGI GenePRIMP pipeline [47]. The predicted CDSs were translated and used to search the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) non-redundant database, UniProt, TIGR-Fam, Pfam, PRIAM, KEGG, COG, and InterPro databases. Additional gene prediction analysis and functional annotation was performed within the Integrated Microbial Genomes - Expert Review (IMG-ER) platform [48].

Genome properties

The genome consists of a 2,269,167 bp long chromosome with a 68.1% GC content (Figure 3 and Table 3). Of the 2,310 genes predicted, 2,251 were protein-coding genes, and 59 RNAs; 46 pseudogenes were also identified. The majority of the protein-coding genes (75.5%) were assigned with a putative function while the remaining ones were annotated as hypothetical proteins. The distribution of genes into COGs functional categories is presented in Table 4.

Figure 3

Graphical circular map of the chromosome. From outside to the center: Genes on forward strand (color by COG categories), Genes on reverse strand (color by COG categories), RNA genes (tRNAs green, rRNAs red, other RNAs black), GC content, GC skew.

Table 3

Genome Statistics



    % of Total

Genome size (bp)



DNA coding region (bp)



DNA G+C content (bp)



Number of replicons


Extrachromosomal elements


Total genes



RNA genes



RNA operons


Protein-coding genes



Pseudo genes



Genes with function prediction



Genes in paralog clusters



Genes assigned to COGs



Genes assigned Pfam domains



Genes with signal peptides



Genes with transmembrane helices



CRISPR repeats


* but three 16S rRNA genes

Table 4

Number of genes associated with the general COG functional categories








    Translation, ribosomal structure and biogenesis




    RNA processing and modification








    Replication, recombination and repair




    Chromatin structure and dynamics




    Cell cycle control, cell division, chromosome partitioning




    Nuclear structure




    Defense mechanisms




    Signal transduction mechanisms




    Cell wall/membrane/envelope biogenesis




    Cell motility








    Extracellular structures




    Intracellular trafficking, secretion, and vesicular transport




    Posttranslational modification, protein turnover, chaperones




    Energy production and conversion




    Carbohydrate transport and metabolism




    Amino acid transport and metabolism




    Nucleotide transport and metabolism




    Coenzyme transport and metabolism




    Lipid transport and metabolism




    Inorganic ion transport and metabolism




    Secondary metabolites biosynthesis, transport and catabolism




    General function prediction only




    Function unknown




    Not in COGs



We would like to gratefully acknowledge the help of Helga Pomrenke (DSMZ) for growing M. hydrothermalis cultures. This work was performed under the auspices of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Program, and by the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344, and Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract No. DE-AC02-06NA25396, UT-Battelle and Oak Ridge National Laboratory under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725, as well as German Research Foundation (DFG) INST 599/1-2.


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