Rhodothermus marinus: physiology and molecular biology
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- Bjornsdottir, S.H., Blondal, T., Hreggvidsson, G.O. et al. Extremophiles (2006) 10: 1. doi:10.1007/s00792-005-0466-z
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Rhodothermus marinus has been the subject of many studies in recent years. It is a thermohalophilic bacterium and is the only validly described species in the genus Rhodothermus. It is not closely related to other well-known thermophiles and is the only thermophile within the family Crenotrichaceae. R. marinus has been isolated from several similar but distantly located geothermal habitats, many of which are subject to large fluctuations in environmental conditions. This presumably affects the physiology of R. marinus. Many of its enzymes show optimum activity at temperatures considerably higher than 65°C, the optimum for growth, and some are active over a broad temperature range. Studies have found distinguishing components in the R. marinus electron transport chain as well as in its pool of intracellular solutes, which accumulate during osmotic stress. The species hosts both bacteriophages and plasmids and a functional intein has been isolated from its chromosome. Despite these interesting features and its unknown genetics, interest in R. marinus has been mostly stimulated by its thermostable enzymes, particularly polysaccharide hydrolysing enzymes and enzymes of DNA synthesis which may be useful in industry and in the laboratory. R. marinus has not been amenable to genetic analysis until recently when a system for gene transfer was established. Here, we review the current literature on R. marinus.