Open Access Research article

Genomes of Alteromonas australica, a world apart

Mario López-Pérez1, Aitor Gonzaga1, Elena P Ivanova2 and Francisco Rodriguez-Valera1*

Author Affiliations

1 División de Microbiología, Evolutionary Genomics Group, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Apartado 18, San Juan, 03550 Alicante, Spain

2 Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Melbourne, Australia

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:483  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-483

Published: 18 June 2014



Alteromonas is a genus of marine bacteria that is very easy to isolate and grow in the laboratory. There are genomes available of the species Alteromonas macleodii from different locations around the world and an Alteromonas sp. isolated from a sediment in Korea. We have analyzed the genomes of two strains classified by 16S rRNA (>99% similarity) as the recently described species Alteromonas australica, and isolated from opposite ends of the world; A. australica DE170 was isolated in the South Adriatic (Mediterranean) at 1000 m depth while A. australica H17T was isolated from a sea water sample collected in St Kilda Beach, Tasman Sea.


Although these two strains belong to a clearly different species from A. macleodii, the overall synteny is well preserved and the flexible genomic islands seem to code for equivalent functions and be located at similar positions. Actually the genomes of all the Alteromonas species known to date seem to preserve synteny quite well with the only exception of the sediment isolate SN2. Among the specific metabolic features found for the A. australica isolates there is the degradation of xylan and production of cellulose as extracellular polymeric substance by DE170 or the potential ethanol/methanol degradation by H17T.


The genomes of the two A. australica isolates are not more different than those of strains of A. macleodii isolated from the same sample. Actually the recruitment from metagenomes indicates that all the available genomes are found in most tropical-temperate marine samples analyzed and that they live in consortia of several species and multiple clones within each. Overall the hydrolytic activities of the Alteromonas genus as a whole are impressive and fit with its known capabilities to exploit sudden inputs of organic matter in their environment.

Alteromonas australica; Biogeography; Alteromonas; Genomic Island; Population genomics; Integron