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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2005 Nov;55(Pt 6):2507-14.

Thermococcus coalescens sp. nov., a cell-fusing hyperthermophilic archaeon from Suiyo Seamount.

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Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba 305-8572, Japan.


A cell-fusing hyperthermophilic archaeon was isolated from hydrothermal fluid obtained from Suiyo Seamount of the Izu-Bonin Arc. The isolate, TS1(T), is an irregular coccus, usually 0.5-2 microm in diameter and motile with a polar tuft of flagella. Cells in the exponential phase of growth fused at room temperature in the presence of DNA-intercalating dye to become as large as 5 microm in diameter. Fused cells showed dark spots that moved along in the cytoplasm. Large cells with a similar appearance were also observed upon culture at 87 degrees C, suggesting the occurrence of similar cell fusions during growth. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that cells in the exponential phase possessed a thin and electron-lucent cell envelope that could be lost subsequently during culture. The fragile cell envelope must be related to cell fusion. The cells grew at 57-90 degrees C, pH 5.2-8.7 and at NaCl concentrations of 1.5-4.5 %, with the optima being 87 degrees C, pH 6.5 and 2.5 % NaCl. The isolate was an anaerobic chemo-organotroph that grew on either yeast extract or tryptone as the sole growth substrate. The genomic DNA G+C content was 53.9 mol%. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing indicated that the isolate was closely related to Thermococcus species. However, no significant DNA-DNA hybridization was observed between genomic DNA of strain TS1(T) and phylogenetically related Thermococcus species. We propose that isolate TS1(T) represents a novel species, Thermococcus coalescens sp. nov., with the name reflecting the cell fusion activity observed in the strain. The type strain is TS1(T) (=JCM 12540T=DSM 16538T).

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