F-and V-ATPases in the genus Thermus and related species

Syst Appl Microbiol. 1998 Mar;21(1):12-22. doi: 10.1016/S0723-2020(98)80003-9.


The discovery of a V-type ATPase in the gram-negative bacterium Thermus thermophilus HB8 (YOKOYAMA et al., J. Biol. Chem. 265, 21946, 1990) was unexpected, since only eukaryotic endomembranes and archaea were thought to contain this enzyme complex, and horizontal gene transfer was suggested to explain the finding. We examined membrane-associated ATPases from representatives of several groups of the genus Thermus. The enzymes were extracted with chloroform and purified by ion exchange chromatography or native gel electrophoresis. One novel Islandic isolate, T. scotoductus SE-1, as well as strain T. filiformis from New Zealand, possessed F-ATPases, as judged by the typical five subunit composition of the F1-moiety, sensitivity to azide, insensitivity to nitrate and a strong crossreaction with antibodies against the F1-ATPase from E. coli. In addition, N-terminal amino acid sequencing of the beta subunit from T. scotoductus SE-1 confirmed its homology with beta subunits from known F-ATPases. In contrast, the same extraction procedure released a V-ATPase from the membranes of T. thermophilus HB27 and T. aquaticus YT-1. The related species Meiothermus (formerly Thermus) chliarophilus ALT-8 also possessed a V-ATPase. All V-ATPases examined in this study contained larger major subunits than F-ATPases, crossreacted with antiserum against subunit A of the V-ATPase from the archaeon Halobacterium saccharovorum, and the N-terminal sequences of their major subunits were homologous to those of other V-ATPases. Sequences of the 16S rRNA gene clearly placed T. scotoductus SE-1, along with other non-pigmented Thermus strains, as a distinct species close to T. aquaticus. Our results suggested that at least two members of the genus, T. scotoductus SE-1 and T. filiformis, contain an F-ATPase, whereas several others possess a V-ATPase. These data could indicate a greater diversity of the genus Thermus than was previously thought. Alternatively, the genus may consist of species where horizontal gene transfer has occurred and others, where it has not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Phylogeny
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / chemistry
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / genetics
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / isolation & purification
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rabbits
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Temperature
  • Thermus / enzymology*
  • Thermus / genetics
  • Thermus / immunology
  • Thermus / isolation & purification
  • Thermus thermophilus / enzymology*
  • Thermus thermophilus / genetics
  • Thermus thermophilus / isolation & purification
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases*


  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases