Staphylothermus marinus

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A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Staphylothermus marinus


Higher order taxa

Archaea; Crenarchaeota; Thermoprotei; Desulfurococcales; Desulfurococcaceae; Staphylothermus


Staphylothermus marinus

NCBI: Taxonomy

Description and significance

Staphylothermus marinus is a marine organism that was isolated from hydrothermal sediment off the the coast of Vulcano Island in Italy. It can also be found from "black smokers" on the ocean floor. In a rich medium, Staphylothermus marinus grows in an optimum temperature of 92 degrees Celsius, but when nutrients are sparce, the optimum temperature drops to 85 degrees Celsius. For growth in a lab, a complex nutrient source is needed for optimum growth.

The morphology of the Staphylothermus marinus can differ depending on the nutrients available. When nutrients are plentiful, Staphylothermus marinus grow as giant cells in a slightly irregular coccus shape with diameters up to 15 mm. Low nutrient concentrations produce little cells with diameters ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 mm. Up to 100 of these cells can cluster together to form grape-like groups.

Describe the appearance, habitat, etc. of the organism, and why it is important enough to have its genome sequenced. Describe how and where it was isolated. Include a picture or two (with sources) if you can find them.

Genome structure

The current genome of S. marinus is 1.57 million base pairs long. The GC content is 35.7% with a gene count of 1646. There are 45 RNAs found in the organism.(5)

Describe the size and content of the genome. How many chromosomes? Circular or linear? Other interesting features? What is known about its sequence? Does it have any plasmids? Are they important to the organism's lifestyle?

Cell structure and metabolism

The cell wall of Staphylothermus marinus is an unusual stucture called tetrabrachion. It is a glycoprotein complex that is very stable at high temperatures which is even resistant to chemicals that denature proteins. Tetrabrachion

Describe any interesting features and/or cell structures; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.


Staphylothermus marinus was isolated from ocean, heat-vent sediment from Vulcano Island in Italy. Due to the extreme heat, no organisms were thought to have lived there. Staphylothermus marinus is now sequenced to be compared with other Archaea hyperthermophiles.

Describe any interactions with other organisms (included eukaryotes), contributions to the environment, effect on environment, etc.

Application to Biotechnology

Does this organism produce any useful compounds or enzymes? What are they and how are they used?

Current Research

Enter summaries of the most recent research here--at least three required


[Sample reference] Takai, K., Sugai, A., Itoh, T., and Horikoshi, K. "Palaeococcus ferrophilus gen. nov., sp. nov., a barophilic, hyperthermophilic archaeon from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 2000. Volume 50. p. 489-500.

Edited by Julie Liu student of Rachel Larsen