From ecological and industrial perspectives, Anoxybacillus flavithermus species that lives in a thermophilic environment, are extremely important bacteria due to their potential in producing highly interesting compounds and enzymes. In order to understand the genetic makeup of these thermophiles, we have performed a comparative genomics study of 12 genome-sequenced strains of Anoxybacillus flavithermus bacteria. The genome size of Anoxybacillus flavithermus strains is from 2.5Mbp to 3.7Mbp and on average containing a low percentage of G + C genomic content (˜41.9%). We show that, on the basis of the total gene-content, Anoxybacillus flavithermus strains are grouped in three different subgroups. In the future, it would be interesting to explore these strain subgroups to further understand the lifestyle of thermophilic bacteria. Focussing on the Anoxybacillus flavithermus AK1 strain, which was isolated from a Hot Spring in Saudi Arabia and closely related to A. flavithermus NBRC strain, we identified a unique list of 75 genes specific to AK1 strain, of which 63 of them have homologs in other taxonomically related species. We speculate that these AK1-specific genes might be resulted due to horizontal gene transfer from other bacteria in order to adapt to the extreme environmental conditions. Moreover, we predicted three potential secondary metabolite gene clusters in the AK1 strain that further need to be experimentally characterised. Genomic annotation, secondary metabolite gene clusters and outcomes of the strain genomic comparisons from this study would be the basis for the strain-specific mathematical model for exploiting the metabolism for the industrial and ecological applications.
Khalil, A. B., Qarawi, S., & Sivakumar, N. (2019). Genomic comparison of anoxybacillus flavithermus AK1, a thermophilic bacteria, with other strains. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 131, 109385. doi:10.1016/j.enzmictec.2019.109385
The authors acknowledge the financial and technical support by KFUPM and KAUST, Saudi Arabia.