Higher order taxa
cellular organisms; Archaea; Euryarchaeota; Thermococci; Thermococcales; Thermococcaceae; Thermococcus
Description and significance
Previously characterized as Pyrococcus sp., Thermococcus kodakarensis is a sulfur-reducing hyperthermophilic archaeon which typically inhabits marine hydrothermal vents and terrestrial hot sulfur springs. T. kodakarensis grows at an optimal temperature of 86C, between the ranges of 60-100C, and in a pH range of 5-9. Although this orgnaism is a representation of simple life forms, it grows and thrives in temperatures up to the boiling point of water. In the absence of sulfur, these heterotrophs ferment a variety of organic compounds, including amino acids, peptides, and sugars. Recent accumulation of 16sRNA sequences has indicated the organism belongs to the Thermococcus genus, and not to the originally hypothesized Pyrococcus genus.
Thermococcus kodakarensis was isolated from a solfatara on Kodakara Island, Japan, and sequenced by the Kyoto University, Japan. This organism produces commercially applicable thermostable DNA polymerases and enzymes that would be useful for such techniques as PCR. In addition, becuase Thermococcus kodakarensis are present in natural high-temperature environments, it plays a major role in the ecology of these hot-water ecosystems.
The Thermococcus kodakaraensis genome contains 2.09 Million base pairs (bp) and is predicted to have approximately 2357 genes. The chromosome has a circular topology and the GC content is estimated to be 38 mol%. Seven genes for probable transposases and four virus-related regions are found within the genome.
Cell structure and metabolism
Thermococcus kodakarensis have an irregular cocci (1-2 µm diameter) cell structure and are motile with several polar flagella. T. kodakarensis has a single ether lipid membrane. It uses amino acids, peptides, pyruvate, and starch as its carbon and energy sources. Metabolic pathways of T. kodakarensis include gluconeogenesis and glycolysis. The products of metabolism are hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide gas.
Describe any interactions with other organisms (included eukaryotes), contributions to the environment, effect on environment, etc.
How does this organism cause disease? Human, animal, plant hosts? Virulence factors, as well as patient symptoms.
Application to Biotechnology
Does this organism produce any useful compounds or enzymes? What are they and how are they used?
Enter summaries of the most recent research here--at least three required
F. Fukuri, A. Haruyuki, K. Tamotsu, R. Matsumi, F. Shinsuke, and T Imanaka. 2005 "Complete Genome Sequence of the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Thermococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 and Comparis with Pyrococcus GEnomes." Genome Res., 15: 352-363 (2005)
M. Morikawa, Y. Izawa, N. Rashid, T. Hoaki, and T. Imanaka. Purification and characterization of a thermostable thiol protease from a newly isolated hyperthermophilic Pyrococcus sp. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Dec;60(12):4559-66.
Edited by student of Rachel Larsen and Kit Pogliano