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J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Mar;18(3):490-6.

Characterization of growth-supporting factors produced by Geobacillus toebii for the commensal thermophile Symbiobacterium toebii.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, 1-1 Machikaneyama-cho, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan.


Symbiobacterium toebii is a commensal symbiotic thermophile that cannot grow without support from a partner bacterium. We investigated the properties of Symbiobacterium growth-supporting factors (SGSFs) produced by the partner bacterium Geobacillus toebii. SGSFs occurred in both the cell-free extract (CFE) and culture supernatant of G. toebii and might comprise multifarious materials because of their different biological properties. The heavy SGSF contained in the cytosolic component exhibited heat- and proteinase-sensitive proteinaceous properties and had a molecular mass of >50 kDa. In contrast, the light SGSF contained in the extracellular component exhibited heat-stable, proteinase-resistant, nonprotein properties and had a molecular mass of <10 kDa. Under morphological examination using light microscopy, S. toebii cultured with the culture supernatant of G. toebii was filamentous, whereas S. toebii cultured with the CFE of G. toebii was rod-shaped. These results strongly suggest that the SGSFs produced by G. toebii comprise two or more types that differ in their growth-supporting mechanisms, although all support the growth of S. toebii. Upon the examination of the distribution of SGSFs in other bacteria, both cytosolic and extracellular components of Geobacillus kaustophilus, Escherichia coli, and Bacillus subtilis had detectable growth-supporting effects for S. toebii, indicating that common SGSF materials are widely present in various bacterial strains.

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