Genome sequence of the thermophilic fresh-water bacterium Spirochaeta caldaria type strain (H1(T)), reclassification of Spirochaeta caldaria, Spirochaeta stenostrepta, and Spirochaeta zuelzerae in the genus Treponema as Treponema caldaria comb. nov., Treponema stenostrepta comb. nov., and Treponema zuelzerae comb. nov., and emendation of the genus Treponema

Stand Genomic Sci. 2013 Apr 15;8(1):88-105. doi: 10.4056/sigs.3096473.


Spirochaeta caldaria Pohlschroeder et al. 1995 is an obligately anaerobic, spiral-shaped bacterium that is motile via periplasmic flagella. The type strain, H1(T), was isolated in 1990 from cyanobacterial mat samples collected at a freshwater hot spring in Oregon, USA, and is of interest because it enhances the degradation of cellulose when grown in co-culture with Clostridium thermocellum. Here we provide a taxonomic re-evaluation for S. caldaria based on phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA sequences and whole genomes, and propose the reclassification of S. caldaria and two other Spirochaeta species as members of the emended genus Treponema. Whereas genera such as Borrelia and Sphaerochaeta possess well-distinguished genomic features related to their divergent lifestyles, the physiological and functional genomic characteristics of Spirochaeta and Treponema appear to be intermixed and are of little taxonomic value. The 3,239,340 bp long genome of strain H1(T) with its 2,869 protein-coding and 59 RNA genes is a part of the G enomic E ncyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.

Keywords: GEBA; Gram-negative; Spirochaeta; Spirochaetaceae; Treponema; chemoorganotrophic; motile; obligately anaerobic; periplasmic flagella; spiral-shaped; thermophilic.