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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2001 Apr;24(1):44-53.

Psychrobacter proteolyticus sp. nov., a psychrotrophic, halotolerant bacterium isolated from the Antarctic krill Euphausia superba Dana, excreting a cold-adapted metalloprotease.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie und Genetik, Universität Wien, Vienna Biocenter, Wien, Austria.


An Antarctic marine bacterium (strain 116) excreting an extracellular cold-adapted metalloprotease was subjected to a detailed polyphasic taxonomic investigation. Strain 116 was previously isolated from the stomach of a specimen of the Antarctic krill Euphasia superba Dana and tentatively characterized as Sphingomonas paucimobilis 116. The 16S rDNA sequence analysis showed that the strain is in fact related to species of the genus Psychrobacter, next to Psychrobacter glacincola (97.4% similarity). Sequence similarities between strain 116 and other Psychrobacter species ranged from 96.9% (with P. urativorans) to 95.4% (with P. immobilis). Key phenotypic characteristics as well as chemotaxonomic features of the bacterium were congruent with the description of the genus Psychrobacter i.e. cells were strictly aerobic, strongly oxidase-positive, psychrotrophic, halotolerant, gram-negative non-motile coccobacilli, with ubiquinone-8 as the main respiratory lipoquinone and 18:1 cis 9, 16:1 cis and 17:1 (omega8c being the predominant cellular fatty acids. The G+C content of the DNA was 43.6 mol%. DNA-DNA hybridization studies showed that the relatedness between strain 116 and Psychrobacter glacinola is only 62.2%. Further differences were apparent in whole-cell SDS-PAGE protein pattern, cellular fatty acid profile and in a number of physiological and biochemical characteristics as well as in enzymatic activities. Tolerance to 5% bile salts, nitrate reduction, citrate utilization, acid production from carbohydrates, alkaline phosphatase, acid phosphatase, C4 esterase, C14 lipase and valine arylamidase were found to differentiate strain 116 from Psychrobacter glacincola. On the basis of this phenotypic and molecular evidences, strain 116, previously known as Sphingomonas paucimobilis 116, was recognized as a new species of the genus Psychrobacter for which the name Psychrobacter proteolyticus is proposed. Strain 116 has been deposited in the Collection de l'Institut Pasteur, France, as CIP106830T and in the Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen and Zellkulturen, as DSM13887.

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