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1.  TmaDB: a repository for tissue microarray data 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6:218.
Tissue microarray (TMA) technology has been developed to facilitate large, genome-scale molecular pathology studies. This technique provides a high-throughput method for analyzing a large cohort of clinical specimens in a single experiment thereby permitting the parallel analysis of molecular alterations (at the DNA, RNA, or protein level) in thousands of tissue specimens. As a vast quantity of data can be generated in a single TMA experiment a systematic approach is required for the storage and analysis of such data.
To analyse TMA output a relational database (known as TmaDB) has been developed to collate all aspects of information relating to TMAs. These data include the TMA construction protocol, experimental protocol and results from the various immunocytological and histochemical staining experiments including the scanned images for each of the TMA cores. Furthermore the database contains pathological information associated with each of the specimens on the TMA slide, the location of the various TMAs and the individual specimen blocks (from which cores were taken) in the laboratory and their current status i.e. if they can be sectioned into further slides or if they are exhausted. TmaDB has been designed to incorporate and extend many of the published common data elements and the XML format for TMA experiments and is therefore compatible with the TMA data exchange specifications developed by the Association for Pathology Informatics community. Finally the design of the database is made flexible such that TMA experiments from several types of cancer can be stored in a single database, which incorporates the national minimum data set required for pathology reports supported by the Royal College of Pathologists (UK).
TmaDB will provide a comprehensive repository for TMA data such that a large number of results from the numerous immunostaining experiments can be efficiently compared for each of the TMA cores. This will allow a systematic, large-scale comparison of tumour samples to facilitate the identification of gene products of clinical importance such as therapeutic or prognostic markers. In addition this work will contribute to the establishment of a standard for reporting TMA data analogous to MIAME in the description of microarray data.
PMCID: PMC1215475  PMID: 16137321
2.  Genomic and Proteomic Analyses of the Terminally Redundant Genome of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Phage PaP1: Establishment of Genus PaP1-Like Phages 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62933.
We isolated and characterized a new Pseudomonas aeruginosa myovirus named PaP1. The morphology of this phage was visualized by electron microscopy and its genome sequence and ends were determined. Finally, genomic and proteomic analyses were performed. PaP1 has an icosahedral head with an apex diameter of 68–70 nm and a contractile tail with a length of 138–140 nm. The PaP1 genome is a linear dsDNA molecule containing 91,715 base pairs (bp) with a G+C content of 49.36% and 12 tRNA genes. A strategy to identify the genome ends of PaP1 was designed. The genome has a 1190 bp terminal redundancy. PaP1 has 157 open reading frames (ORFs). Of these, 143 proteins are homologs of known proteins, but only 38 could be functionally identified. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry allowed identification of 12 ORFs as structural protein coding genes within the PaP1 genome. Comparative genomic analysis indicated that the Pseudomonas aeruginosa phage PaP1, JG004, PAK_P1 and vB_PaeM_C2-10_Ab1 share great similarity. Besides their similar biological characteristics, the phages contain 123 core genes and have very close phylogenetic relationships, which distinguish them from other known phage genera. We therefore propose that these four phages be classified as PaP1-like phages, a new phage genus of Myoviridae that infects Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
PMCID: PMC3652863  PMID: 23675441
3.  Genomic Organization and Molecular Analysis of Virulent Bacteriophage 2972 Infecting an Exopolysaccharide-Producing Streptococcus thermophilus Strain 
The Streptococcus thermophilus virulent pac-type phage 2972 was isolated from a yogurt made in France in 1999. It is a representative of several phages that have emerged with the industrial use of the exopolysaccharide-producing S. thermophilus strain RD534. The genome of phage 2972 has 34,704 bp with an overall G+C content of 40.15%, making it the shortest S. thermophilus phage genome analyzed so far. Forty-four open reading frames (ORFs) encoding putative proteins of 40 or more amino acids were identified, and bioinformatic analyses led to the assignment of putative functions to 23 ORFs. Comparative genomic analysis of phage 2972 with the six other sequenced S. thermophilus phage genomes confirmed that the replication module is conserved and that cos- and pac-type phages have distinct structural and packaging genes. Two group I introns were identified in the genome of 2972. They interrupted the genes coding for the putative endolysin and the terminase large subunit. Phage mRNA splicing was demonstrated for both introns, and the secondary structures were predicted. Eight structural proteins were also identified by N-terminal sequencing and/or matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization—time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Detailed analysis of the putative minor tail proteins ORF19 and ORF21 as well as the putative receptor-binding protein ORF20 showed the following interesting features: (i) ORF19 is a hybrid protein, because it displays significant identity with both pac- and cos-type phages; (ii) ORF20 is unique; and (iii) a protein similar to ORF21 of 2972 was also found in the structure of the cos-type phage DT1, indicating that this structural protein is present in both S. thermophilus phage groups. The implications of these findings for phage classification are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1169050  PMID: 16000821
4.  Sequence of the hyperplastic genome of the naturally competent Thermus scotoductus SA-01 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:577.
Many strains of Thermus have been isolated from hot environments around the world. Thermus scotoductus SA-01 was isolated from fissure water collected 3.2 km below surface in a South African gold mine. The isolate is capable of dissimilatory iron reduction, growth with oxygen and nitrate as terminal electron acceptors and the ability to reduce a variety of metal ions, including gold, chromate and uranium, was demonstrated. The genomes from two different Thermus thermophilus strains have been completed. This paper represents the completed genome from a second Thermus species - T. scotoductus.
The genome of Thermus scotoductus SA-01 consists of a chromosome of 2,346,803 bp and a small plasmid which, together are about 11% larger than the Thermus thermophilus genomes. The T. thermophilus megaplasmid genes are part of the T. scotoductus chromosome and extensive rearrangement, deletion of nonessential genes and acquisition of gene islands have occurred, leading to a loss of synteny between the chromosomes of T. scotoductus and T. thermophilus. At least nine large inserts of which seven were identified as alien, were found, the most remarkable being a denitrification cluster and two operons relating to the metabolism of phenolics which appear to have been acquired from Meiothermus ruber. The majority of acquired genes are from closely related species of the Deinococcus-Thermus group, and many of the remaining genes are from microorganisms with a thermophilic or hyperthermophilic lifestyle. The natural competence of Thermus scotoductus was confirmed experimentally as expected as most of the proteins of the natural transformation system of Thermus thermophilus are present. Analysis of the metabolic capabilities revealed an extensive energy metabolism with many aerobic and anaerobic respiratory options. An abundance of sensor histidine kinases, response regulators and transporters for a wide variety of compounds are indicative of an oligotrophic lifestyle.
The genome of Thermus scotoductus SA-01 shows remarkable plasticity with the loss, acquisition and rearrangement of large portions of its genome compared to Thermus thermophilus. Its ability to naturally take up foreign DNA has helped it adapt rapidly to a subsurface lifestyle in the presence of a dense and diverse population which acted as source of nutrients. The genome of Thermus scotoductus illustrates how rapid adaptation can be achieved by a highly dynamic and plastic genome.
PMCID: PMC3235269  PMID: 22115438
5.  The Dilemma of Phage Taxonomy Illustrated by Comparative Genomics of Sfi21-Like Siphoviridae in Lactic Acid Bacteria 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(21):6026-6036.
The complete genome sequences of two dairy phages, Streptococcus thermophilus phage 7201 and Lactobacillus casei phage A2, are reported. Comparative genomics reveals that both phages are members of the recently proposed Sfi21-like genus of Siphoviridae, a widely distributed phage type in low-GC-content gram-positive bacteria. Graded relatedness, the hallmark of evolving biological systems, was observed when different Sfi21-like phages were compared. Across the structural module, the graded relatedness was represented by a high level of DNA sequence similarity or protein sequence similarity, or a shared gene map in the absence of sequence relatedness. This varying range of relatedness was found within Sfi21-like phages from a single species as demonstrated by the different prophages harbored by Lactococcus lactis strain IL1403. A systematic dot plot analysis with 11 complete L. lactis phage genome sequences revealed a clear separation of all temperate phages from two classes of virulent phages. The temperate lactococcal phages share DNA sequence homology in a patchwise fashion over the nonstructural gene cluster. With respect to structural genes, four DNA homology groups could be defined within temperate L. lactis phages. Closely related structural modules for all four DNA homology groups were detected in phages from Streptococcus or Listeria, suggesting that they represent distinct evolutionary lineages that have not uniquely evolved in L. lactis. It seems reasonable to base phage taxonomy on data from comparative genomics. However, the peculiar modular nature of phage evolution creates ambiguities in the definition of phage taxa by comparative genomics. For example, depending on the module on which the classification is based, temperate lactococcal phages can be classified as a single phage species, as four distinct phage species, or as two if not three different phage genera. We propose to base phage taxonomy on comparative genomics of a single structural gene module (head or tail genes). This partially phylogeny-based taxonomical system still mirrors some aspects of the current International Committee on Taxonomy in Virology classification system. In this system the currently sequenced lactococcal phages would be grouped into five genera: c2-, sk1, Sfi11-, r1t-, and Sfi21-like phages.
PMCID: PMC135392  PMID: 12374837
6.  Genomic and proteomic characterization of SuMu, a Mu-like bacteriophage infecting Haemophilus parasuis 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:331.
Haemophilus parasuis, the causative agent of Glässer’s disease, is prevalent in swine herds and clinical signs associated with this disease are meningitis, polyserositis, polyarthritis, and bacterial pneumonia. Six to eight week old pigs in segregated early weaning herds are particularly susceptible to the disease. Insufficient colostral antibody at weaning or the mixing of pigs with heterologous virulent H. parasuis strains from other farm sources in the nursery or grower-finisher stage are considered to be factors for the outbreak of Glässer’s disease. Previously, a Mu-like bacteriophage portal gene was detected in a virulent swine isolate of H. parasuis by nested polymerase chain reaction. Mu-like bacteriophages are related phyologenetically to enterobacteriophage Mu and are thought to carry virulence genes or to induce host expression of virulence genes. This study characterizes the Mu-like bacteriophage, named SuMu, isolated from a virulent H. parasuis isolate.
Characterization was done by genomic comparison to enterobacteriophage Mu and proteomic identification of various homologs by mass spectrometry. This is the first report of isolation and characterization of this bacteriophage from the Myoviridae family, a double-stranded DNA bacteriophage with a contractile tail, from a virulent field isolate of H. parasuis. The genome size of bacteriophage SuMu was 37,151 bp. DNA sequencing revealed fifty five open reading frames, including twenty five homologs to Mu-like bacteriophage proteins: Nlp, phage transposase-C-terminal, COG2842, Gam-like protein, gp16, Mor, peptidoglycan recognition protein, gp29, gp30, gpG, gp32, gp34, gp36, gp37, gpL, phage tail tube protein, DNA circulation protein, gpP, gp45, gp46, gp47, COG3778, tail fiber protein gp37-C terminal, tail fiber assembly protein, and Com. The last open reading frame was homologous to IS1414. The G + C content of bacteriophage SuMu was 41.87% while its H. parasuis host genome’s G + C content was 39.93%. Twenty protein homologs to bacteriophage proteins, including 15 structural proteins, one lysogeny-related and one lysis-related protein, and three DNA replication proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. One of the tail proteins, gp36, may be a virulence-related protein.
Bacteriophage SuMu was characterized by genomic and proteomic methods and compared to enterobacteriophage Mu.
PMCID: PMC3447690  PMID: 22823751
Haemophilus parasuis; Bacteriophage; Virulence
7.  The genome and proteome of a Campylobacter coli bacteriophage vB_CcoM-IBB_35 reveal unusual features 
Virology Journal  2012;9:35.
Campylobacter is the leading cause of foodborne diseases worldwide. Bacteriophages (phages) are naturally occurring predators of bacteria, ubiquitous in the environment, with high host specificity and thus considered an appealing option to control bacterial pathogens. Nevertheless for an effective use of phages as antimicrobial agents, it is important to understand phage biology which renders crucial the analysis of phage genomes and proteomes. The lack of sequence data from Campylobacter phages adds further importance to these studies.
vB_CcoM-IBB_35 is a broad lytic spectrum Myoviridae Campylobacter phage with high potential for therapeutic use. The genome of this phage was obtained by pyrosequencing and the sequence data was further analyzed. The proteomic analysis was performed by SDS-PAGE and Mass spectrometry.
Results and conclusions
The DNA sequence data of vB_CcoM-IBB_35 consists of five contigs for a total of 172,065 bp with an average GC content of 27%. Attempts to close the gaps between contigs were unsuccessful since the DNA preparations appear to contain substances that inhibited Taq and ϕ29 polymerases. From the 210 identified ORFs, around 60% represent proteins that were not functionally assigned. Homology exists with members of the Teequatrovirinae namely for T4 proteins involved in morphogenesis, nucleotide metabolism, transcription, DNA replication and recombination. Tandem mass spectrometric analysis revealed 38 structural proteins as part of the mature phage particle.
Genes encoding proteins involved in the carbohydrate metabolism along with several incidences of gene duplications, split genes with inteins and introns have been rarely found in other phage genomes yet are found in this phage. We identified the genes encoding for tail fibres and for the lytic cassette, this later, expressing enzymes for bacterial capsular polysaccharides (CPS) degradation, which has not been reported before for Campylobacter phages.
PMCID: PMC3322345  PMID: 22284308
Bacteriophage; Genome; Campylobacter
8.  Complete Genomic Sequence of Bacteriophage φEcoM-GJ1, a Novel Phage That Has Myovirus Morphology and a Podovirus-Like RNA Polymerase▿  
The complete genome of φEcoM-GJ1, a lytic phage that attacks porcine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli of serotype O149:H10:F4, was sequenced and analyzed. The morphology of the phage and the identity of the structural proteins were also determined. The genome consisted of 52,975 bp with a G+C content of 44% and was terminally redundant and circularly permuted. Seventy-five potential open reading frames (ORFs) were identified and annotated, but only 29 possessed homologs. The proteins of five ORFs showed homology with proteins of phages of the family Myoviridae, nine with proteins of phages of the family Podoviridae, and six with proteins of phages of the family Siphoviridae. ORF 1 encoded a T7-like single-subunit RNA polymerase and was preceded by a putative E. coli σ70-like promoter. Nine putative phage promoters were detected throughout the genome. The genome included a tRNA gene of 95 bp that had a putative 18-bp intron. The phage morphology was typical of phages of the family Myoviridae, with an icosahedral head, a neck, and a long contractile tail with tail fibers. The analysis shows that φEcoM-GJ1 is unique, having the morphology of the Myoviridae, a gene for RNA polymerase, which is characteristic of phages of the T7 group of the Podoviridae, and several genes that encode proteins with homology to proteins of phages of the family Siphoviridae.
PMCID: PMC2223254  PMID: 18039824
9.  The Closest Relatives of Icosahedral Viruses of Thermophilic Bacteria Are among Viruses and Plasmids of the Halophilic Archaea▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(18):9388-9397.
We have sequenced the genome and identified the structural proteins and lipids of the novel membrane-containing, icosahedral virus P23-77 of Thermus thermophilus. P23-77 has an ∼17-kb circular double-stranded DNA genome, which was annotated to contain 37 putative genes. Virions were subjected to dissociation analysis, and five protein species were shown to associate with the internal viral membrane, while three were constituents of the protein capsid. Analysis of the bacteriophage genome revealed it to be evolutionarily related to another Thermus phage (IN93), archaeal Halobacterium plasmid (pHH205), a genetic element integrated into Haloarcula genome (designated here as IHP for integrated Haloarcula provirus), and the Haloarcula virus SH1. These genetic elements share two major capsid proteins and a putative packaging ATPase. The ATPase is similar with the ATPases found in the PRD1-type viruses, thus providing an evolutionary link to these viruses and furthering our knowledge on the origin of viruses.
PMCID: PMC2738223  PMID: 19587059
10.  Specialized adaptation of a lactic acid bacterium to the milk environment: the comparative genomics of Streptococcus thermophilus LMD-9 
Microbial Cell Factories  2011;10(Suppl 1):S22.
Streptococcus thermophilus represents the only species among the streptococci that has “Generally Regarded As Safe” status and that plays an economically important role in the fermentation of yogurt and cheeses. We conducted comparative genome analysis of S. thermophilus LMD-9 to identify unique gene features as well as features that contribute to its adaptation to the dairy environment. In addition, we investigated the transcriptome response of LMD-9 during growth in milk in the presence of Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus, a companion culture in yogurt fermentation, and during lytic bacteriophage infection.
The S. thermophilus LMD-9 genome is comprised of a 1.8 Mbp circular chromosome (39.1% GC; 1,834 predicted open reading frames) and two small cryptic plasmids. Genome comparison with the previously sequenced LMG 18311 and CNRZ1066 strains revealed 114 kb of LMD-9 specific chromosomal region, including genes that encode for histidine biosynthetic pathway, a cell surface proteinase, various host defense mechanisms and a phage remnant. Interestingly, also unique to LMD-9 are genes encoding for a putative mucus-binding protein, a peptide transporter, and exopolysaccharide biosynthetic proteins that have close orthologs in human intestinal microorganisms. LMD-9 harbors a large number of pseudogenes (13% of ORFeome), indicating that like LMG 18311 and CNRZ1066, LMD-9 has also undergone major reductive evolution, with the loss of carbohydrate metabolic genes and virulence genes found in their streptococcal counterparts. Functional genome distribution analysis of ORFeomes among streptococci showed that all three S. thermophilus strains formed a distinct functional cluster, further establishing their specialized adaptation to the nutrient-rich milk niche. An upregulation of CRISPR1 expression in LMD-9 during lytic bacteriophage DT1 infection suggests its protective role against phage invasion. When co-cultured with L. bulgaricus, LMD-9 overexpressed genes involved in amino acid transport and metabolism as well as DNA replication.
The genome of S. thermophilus LMD-9 is shaped by its domestication in the dairy environment, with gene features that conferred rapid growth in milk, stress response mechanisms and host defense systems that are relevant to its industrial applications. The presence of a unique exopolysaccharide gene cluster and cell surface protein orthologs commonly associated with probiotic functionality revealed potential probiotic applications of LMD-9.
PMCID: PMC3231929  PMID: 21995282
11.  XPC branch-point sequence mutations disrupt U2 snRNP binding resulting in abnormal pre-mRNA splicing in xeroderma pigmentosum patients 
Human mutation  2010;31(2):167-175.
Mutations in two branch-point sequences (BPS) in intron 3 of the XPC DNA repair gene affect pre-mRNA splicing in association with xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) with many skin cancers (XP101TMA) or no skin cancer (XP72TMA), respectively. To investigate the mechanism of these abnormalities we now report that transfection of minigenes with these mutations revealed abnormal XPC pre-mRNA splicing that mimicked pre-mRNA splicing in the patients’ cells. DNA oligonucleotide-directed RNase H digestion demonstrated that mutations in these BPS disrupt U2 snRNP – BPS interaction. XP101TMA cells had no detectable XPC protein but XP72TMA had 29% of normal levels. A small amount of XPC protein was detected at sites of localized UV-damaged DNA in XP72TMA cells which then recruited other nucleotide excision repair (NER) proteins. In contrast, XP101TMA cells had no detectable recruitment of XPC or other NER proteins. Post-UV survival and photoproduct assays revealed greater reduction in DNA repair in XP101TMA cells than in XP72TMA. Thus mutations in XPC BPS resulted in disruption of U2 snRNP-BPS interaction leading to abnormal pre-mRNA splicing and reduced XPC protein. At the cellular level these changes were associated with features of reduced DNA repair including diminished NER protein recruitment, reduced post-UV survival and impaired photoproduct removal.
PMCID: PMC2815018  PMID: 19953607
XPC; DNA repair; pre-mRNA splicing; xeroderma pigmentosum; skin cancer; U2 snRNP
12.  Tissue microarrays: applications in study of p16 and p53 alterations in Ewing's cell lines 
Diagnostic Pathology  2008;3(Suppl 1):S27.
Tissue microarrays (TMAs) are used to study genomics and proteomics in several tumour tissue samples. Cell lines (CC) are of great importance in the study of the genetic changes in tumours, and some reveal several aspects of tumour oncogenesis. There are few published reports on Ewing's tumours with TMAs including original tumours (OT) and corresponding CC.
We have performed four TMAs, from 3 OT and the corresponding CC of successive in vivo and in vitro tumour passages. Xenotransplant CC in nude mice from OT (XT/OT) was made. Subsequently multiple XT were performed and in vitro XT cell line (CC/XT) was obtained. In vivo re-inoculation of CC/XT (XT/CC) was planned. TMAs with the successive tumour passages that grew in nude mice (XT/OT and XT/CC) were analyzed by morphologic pattern (Hematoxilin/eosin), immunohistochemical staining (CD99, FLI1, p16, p53, ki-67), fluorescent in situ hybridization-FISH-(EWSR1 break apart, p16 and p53 status) and gene fusion types.
Heterogeneous results of the p16, p53 and ki67 in OT, XT/OT, CC/XT and XT/CC were observed. The three cell lines revealed EWS/FLI1 rearrangements. p16 gene was deleted only in one case. The deletion was detected by FISH and confirmed by PCR assays. A p53 alteration was found in the second case with monosomy and subsequently polysomic status of chromosome 17 during the evolution of CC. The PCR study revealed p53 mutation. The third case showed hypermethylation in the promoter of p16. The growth of the tumour in nude mice was more accelerated when the inoculation was performed from the CC/XT, increasing progressively over the passages. The third case did not reveal tumour growth in nude mice after the re-inoculation of CC/XT.
The study of several cores from original tumours and successive tumour passages in TMAs facilitated the analysis of the genetic alteration and protein expression in Ewing's tumours.
PMCID: PMC2500108  PMID: 18673516
13.  Thermus thermophilus bacteriophage ϕYS40 genome and proteomic characterization of virions 
Journal of molecular biology  2006;364(4):667-677.
We determined the sequence of the 152,372-bp genome of ϕYS40, a lytic tailed bacteriophage of Thermus thermophilus. The genome contains 170 putative open reading frames and three tRNA genes. Functions for 25% of ϕYS40 gene products were predicted on the basis of similarity to proteins of known function from diverse phages and bacteria. ϕYS40 encodes a cluster of proteins involved in nucleotide salvage, such as flavin-dependent thymidylate synthase, thymidylate kinase, ribonucleotide reductase, and deoxycytidylate deaminase, and in DNA replication, such as DNA primase, helicase, type A DNA polymerase, and predicted terminal protein involved in initiation of DNA synthesis. The structural genes of ϕYS40, most of which have no similarity to sequences in public databases, were identified by mass-spectrometric analysis of purified virions. Various ϕYS40 proteins have different phylogenetic neighbors, including Myovirus, Podovirus, and Siphovirus gene products, bacterial genes, and in one case, a dUTPase from a eukaryotic virus. ϕYS40 has apparently arisen through multiple acts of recombination between different phage genomes as well as through acquisition of bacterial genes.
PMCID: PMC1773054  PMID: 17027029
Thermus thermophilus; bacteriophage; genome; virion; proteomics; bioinformatics; DNA polymerase
14.  Thermostable repair enzyme for oxidative DNA damage from extremely thermophilic bacterium, Thermus thermophilus HB8. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1998;26(4):903-910.
The mutM (fpg) gene, which encodes a DNA glycosylase that excises an oxidatively damaged form of guanine, was cloned from an extremely thermophilic bacterium, Thermus thermophilus HB8. Its nucleotide sequence encoded a 266 amino acid protein with a molecular mass of approximately 30 kDa. Its predicted amino acid sequence showed 42% identity with the Escherichia coli protein. The amino acid residues Cys, Asn, Gln and Met, known to be chemically unstable at high temperatures, were decreased in number in T.thermophilus MutM protein compared to those of the E.coli one, whereas the number of Pro residues, considered to increase protein stability, was increased. The T.thermophilus mutM gene complemented the mutability of the E.coli mutM mutY double mutant, suggesting that T. thermophilus MutM protein was active in E.coli. The T.thermophilus MutM protein was overproduced in E.coli and then purified to homogeneity. Size-exclusion chromatography indicated that T. thermophilus MutM protein exists as a more compact monomer than the E.coli MutM protein in solution. Circular dichroism measurements indicated that the alpha-helical content of the protein was approximately 30%. Thermus thermophilus MutM protein was stable up to 75 degrees C at neutral pH, and between pH 5 and 11 and in the presence of up to 4 M urea at 25 degrees C. Denaturation analysis of T.thermophilus MutM protein in the presence of urea suggested that the protein had at least two domains, with estimated stabilities of 8.6 and 16.2 kcal/mol-1, respectively. Thermus thermophilus MutM protein showed 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase activity in vitro at both low and high temperatures.
PMCID: PMC147369  PMID: 9461446
15.  Analysis of DNA strand-specific differential expression with high density tiling microarrays 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:136.
DNA microarray technology allows the analysis of genome structure and dynamics at genome-wide scale. Expression microarrays (EMA) contain probes for annotated open reading frames (ORF) and are widely used for the analysis of differential gene expression. By contrast, tiling microarrays (TMA) have a much higher probe density and provide unbiased genome-wide coverage. The purpose of this study was to develop a protocol to exploit the high resolution of TMAs for quantitative measurement of DNA strand-specific differential expression of annotated and non-annotated transcripts.
We extensively filtered probes present in Affymetrix Genechip Yeast Genome 2.0 expression and GeneChip S. pombe 1.0FR tiling microarrays to generate custom Chip Description Files (CDF) in order to compare their efficiency. We experimentally tested the potential of our approach by measuring the differential expression of 4904 genes in the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe growing under conditions of oxidative stress. The results showed a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.943 between both platforms, indicating that TMAs are as reliable as EMAs for quantitative expression analysis. A significant advantage of TMAs over EMAs is the possibility of detecting non-annotated transcripts generated only under specific physiological conditions. To take full advantage of this property, we have used a target-labelling protocol that preserves the original polarity of the transcripts and, therefore, allows the strand-specific differential expression of non-annotated transcripts to be determined. By using a segmentation algorithm prior to generating the corresponding custom CDFs, we identified and quantitatively measured the expression of 510 transcripts longer than 180 nucleotides and not overlapping previously annotated ORFs that were differentially expressed at least 2-fold under oxidative stress.
We show that the information derived from TMA hybridization can be processed simultaneously for high-resolution qualitative and quantitative analysis of the differential expression of well-characterized genes and of previously non-annotated and antisense transcripts. The consistency of the performance of TMA, their genome-wide coverage and adaptability to updated genome annotations, and the possibility of measuring strand-specific differential expression makes them a tool of choice for the analysis of gene expression in any organism for which TMA platforms are available.
PMCID: PMC2858035  PMID: 20233458
16.  Novel Archaeal Adhesion Pilins with a Conserved N Terminus 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(17):3808-3818.
Type IV pili play important roles in a wide array of processes, including surface adhesion and twitching motility. Although archaeal genomes encode a diverse set of type IV pilus subunits, the functions for most remain unknown. We have now characterized six Haloferax volcanii pilins, PilA[1-6], each containing an identical 30-amino-acid N-terminal hydrophobic motif that is part of a larger highly conserved domain of unknown function (Duf1628). Deletion mutants lacking up to five of the six pilin genes display no significant adhesion defects; however, H. volcanii lacking all six pilins (ΔpilA[1-6]) does not adhere to glass or plastic. Consistent with these results, the expression of any one of these pilins in trans is sufficient to produce functional pili in the ΔpilA[1-6] strain. PilA1His and PilA2His only partially rescue this phenotype, whereas ΔpilA[1-6] strains expressing PilA3His or PilA4His adhere even more strongly than the parental strain. Most surprisingly, expressing either PilA5His or PilA6His in the ΔpilA[1-6] strain results in microcolony formation. A hybrid protein in which the conserved N terminus of the mature PilA1His is replaced with the corresponding N domain of FlgA1 is processed by the prepilin peptidase, but it does not assemble functional pili, leading us to conclude that Duf1628 can be annotated as the N terminus of archaeal PilA adhesion pilins. Finally, the pilin prediction program, FlaFind, which was trained primarily on archaeal flagellin sequences, was successfully refined to more accurately predict pilins based on the in vivo verification of PilA[1-6].
PMCID: PMC3754589  PMID: 23794623
17.  The Trimethylamine Methyltransferase Gene and Multiple Dimethylamine Methyltransferase Genes of Methanosarcina barkeri Contain In-Frame and Read-Through Amber Codons† 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(9):2520-2529.
Three different methyltransferases initiate methanogenesis from trimethylamine (TMA), dimethylamine (DMA) or monomethylamine (MMA) by methylating different cognate corrinoid proteins that are subsequently used to methylate coenzyme M (CoM). Here, genes encoding the DMA and TMA methyltransferases are characterized for the first time. A single copy of mttB, the TMA methyltransferase gene, was cotranscribed with a copy of the DMA methyltransferase gene, mtbB1. However, two other nearly identical copies of mtbB1, designated mtbB2 and mtbB3, were also found in the genome. A 6.8-kb transcript was detected with probes to mttB and mtbB1, as well as to mtbC and mttC, encoding the cognate corrinoid proteins for DMA:CoM and TMA:CoM methyl transfer, respectively, and with probes to mttP, encoding a putative membrane protein which might function as a methylamine permease. These results indicate that these genes, found on the chromosome in the order mtbC, mttB, mttC, mttP, and mtbB1, form a single transcriptional unit. A transcriptional start site was detected 303 or 304 bp upstream of the translational start of mtbC. The MMA, DMA, and TMA methyltransferases are not homologs; however, like the MMA methyltransferase gene, the genes encoding the DMA and TMA methyltransferases each contain a single in-frame amber codon. Each of the three DMA methyltransferase gene copies from Methanosarcina barkeri contained an amber codon at the same position, followed by a downstream UAA or UGA codon. The C-terminal residues of DMA methyltransferase purified from TMA-grown cells matched the residues predicted for the gene products of mtbB1, mtbB2, or mtbB3 if termination occurred at the UAA or UGA codon rather than the in-frame amber codon. The mttB gene from Methanosarcina thermophila contained a UAG codon at the same position as the M. barkeri mttB gene. The UAG codon is also present in mttB transcripts. Thus, the genes encoding the three types of methyltransferases that initiate methanogenesis from methylamine contain in-frame amber codons that are suppressed during expression of the characterized methyltransferases.
PMCID: PMC111316  PMID: 10762254
18.  Salmonella Typhimurium-specific bacteriophage ΦSH19 and the origins of species specificity in the Vi01-like phage family 
Virology Journal  2011;8:498.
Whole genome sequencing of bacteriophages suitable for biocontrol of pathogens in food products is a pre-requisite to any phage-based intervention procedure. Trials involving the biosanitization of Salmonella Typhimurium in the pig production environment identified one such candidate, ΦSH19.
This phage was sequenced and analysis of its 157,785 bp circular dsDNA genome revealed a number of interesting features. ΦSH19 constitutes another member of the recently-proposed Myoviridae Vi01-like family of phages, containing S. Typhi-specific Vi01 and Shigella-specific SboM-AG3. At the nucleotide level ΦSH19 is highly similar to phage Vi01 (80-98% pairwise identity over the length of the genome), with the major differences lying in the region associated with host-range determination. Analyses of the proteins encoded within this region by ΦSH19 revealed a cluster of three putative tail spikes. Of the three tail spikes, two have protein domains associated with the pectate lyase family of proteins (Tsp2) and P22 tail spike family (Tsp3) with the prospect that these enable Salmonella O antigen degradation. Tail spike proteins of Vi01 and SboM-AG3 are predicted to contain conserved right-handed parallel β-helical structures but the internal protein domains are varied allowing different host specificities.
The addition or exchange of tail spike protein modules is a major contributor to host range determination in the Vi01-like phage family.
PMCID: PMC3220722  PMID: 22047448
Phage biocontrol; biosanitization; bacteriophage genomics; Salmonella Typhimurium; Myoviridae; P22-like tail spike; pectate lyase tail spike domain; lipopolysaccharide
19.  Characterization of Lactococcus lactis Phage 949 and Comparison with Other Lactococcal Phages▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(20):6843-6852.
The virulent Lactococcus lactis phage 949 was isolated in 1975 from cheese whey in New Zealand. This phage is a member of the Siphoviridae family and of a rare lactococcal phage group that bears its name (949 group). It has an icosahedral capsid (79-nm diameter) and a very long noncontractile tail (length, 500 nm; width, 12 nm). It infected 7 of 59 tested L. lactis strains, a somewhat expanded host range for a rare lactococcal phage. The abortive phage infection defense mechanisms AbiQ and AbiT strongly inhibited the multiplication of phage 949, but AbiK and AbiV did not. Its double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome of 114,768 bp is, to date, the largest among lactococcal phages. Its GC content was calculated at 32.7%, which is the lowest reported for a lactococcal phage. Its 154 open reading frames (ORFs) share limited identity with database sequences. In addition, terminal redundancy was observed as well as the presence of six tRNAs, one group I intron, and putative recombinases. SDS-PAGE coupled with mass spectrometry identified 13 structural proteins. The genomes of the members of the 10 currently known L. lactis phage groups were used to construct a proteomic tree. Each L. lactis phage group separated into distinct genetic clusters, validating the current classification scheme. Of note, members of the polythetic P335 groups were clearly separated into subgroups.
PMCID: PMC2953028  PMID: 20802084
20.  Genomic Organization and Molecular Characterization of Clostridium difficile Bacteriophage ΦCD119 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(7):2568-2577.
In this study, we have isolated a temperate phage (ΦCD119) from a pathogenic Clostridium difficile strain and sequenced and annotated its genome. This virus has an icosahedral capsid and a contractile tail covered by a sheath and contains a double-stranded DNA genome. It belongs to the Myoviridae family of the tailed phages and the order Caudovirales. The genome was circularly permuted, with no physical ends detected by sequencing or restriction enzyme digestion analysis, and lacked a cos site. The DNA sequence of this phage consists of 53,325 bp, which carries 79 putative open reading frames (ORFs). A function could be assigned to 23 putative gene products, based upon bioinformatic analyses. The ΦCD119 genome is organized in a modular format, which includes modules for lysogeny, DNA replication, DNA packaging, structural proteins, and host cell lysis. The ΦCD119 attachment site attP lies in a noncoding region close to the putative integrase (int) gene. We have identified the phage integration site on the C. difficile chromosome (attB) located in a noncoding region just upstream of gene gltP, which encodes a carrier protein for glutamate and aspartate. This genetic analysis represents the first complete DNA sequence and annotation of a C. difficile phage.
PMCID: PMC1428422  PMID: 16547044
21.  Genome comparison and proteomic characterization of Thermus thermophilus bacteriophages P23-45 and P74-26: Siphoviruses with triplex-forming sequences and the longest known tails 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;378(2):468-480.
The genomes of two closely related lytic Thermus thermophilus siphoviruses with exceptionally long (~800 nm) tails, bacteriophages P23-45 and P74-26, were completely sequenced. The P23-45 genome consists of 84,201 bp with 117 putative ORFs (Open Reading Frames), and the P74-26 genome has 83,319 bp and 116 putative ORFs. The two genomes are 92% identical with 113 ORFs shared. Only 25% of phage gene product functions can be predicted from similarities to proteins and protein domains with known functions. The structural genes of P23-45, most of which have no similarity to sequences from public databases, were identified by mass-spectrometric analysis of virions. An unusual feature of the P23-45 and P74-26 genomes is the presence, in their largest intergenic regions, of long polypurine-polypyrimidine (R-Y) sequences with mirror repeat symmetry. Such sequences, abundant in eukaryotic genomes but rare in prokaryotes, are known to form stable triple helices that block replication and transcription and induce genetic instability. Comparative analysis of the two phage genomes shows that the area around the triplex-forming elements is enriched in mutational variations. In vitro, phage R-Y sequences form triplexes and block DNA synthesis by Taq DNA polymerase in orientation-dependent manner, suggesting that they may play a regulatory role during P23-45 and P74-26 development.
PMCID: PMC2440725  PMID: 18355836
Thermus thermophilus; thermophages; virion proteomics; bioinformatics; triplex-forming sequence
22.  Comparative Genomics of Streptococcus thermophilus Phage Species Supports a Modular Evolution Theory 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(10):8647-8656.
The comparative analysis of five completely sequenced Streptococcus thermophilus bacteriophage genomes demonstrated that their diversification was achieved by a combination of DNA recombination events and an accumulation of point mutations. The five phages included lytic and temperate phages, both pac site and cos site, from three distinct geographical areas. The units of genetic exchange were either large, comprising the entire morphogenesis gene cluster, excluding the putative tail fiber genes, or small, consisting of one or maximally two genes or even segments of a gene. Many indels were flanked by DNA repeats. Differences in a single putative tail fiber gene correlated with the host ranges of the phages. The predicted tail fiber protein consisted of highly conserved domains containing conspicuous glycine repeats interspersed with highly variable domains. As in the T-even coliphage adhesins, the glycine-containing domains were recombinational hot spots. Downstream of a highly conserved DNA replication region, all lytic phages showed a short duplication; in three isolates the origin of replication was repeated. The lytic phages could conceivably be derived from the temperate phages by deletion and multiple rearrangement events in the lysogeny module, giving rise to occasional selfish phages that defy the superinfection control systems of the corresponding temperate phages.
PMCID: PMC112885  PMID: 10482618
23.  The Caulobacter crescentus phage phiCbK: genomics of a canonical phage 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:542.
The bacterium Caulobacter crescentus is a popular model for the study of cell cycle regulation and senescence. The large prolate siphophage phiCbK has been an important tool in C. crescentus biology, and has been studied in its own right as a model for viral morphogenesis. Although a system of some interest, to date little genomic information is available on phiCbK or its relatives.
Five novel phiCbK-like C. crescentus bacteriophages, CcrMagneto, CcrSwift, CcrKarma, CcrRogue and CcrColossus, were isolated from the environment. The genomes of phage phiCbK and these five environmental phage isolates were obtained by 454 pyrosequencing. The phiCbK-like phage genomes range in size from 205 kb encoding 318 proteins (phiCbK) to 280 kb encoding 448 proteins (CcrColossus), and were found to contain nonpermuted terminal redundancies of 10 to 17 kb. A novel method of terminal ligation was developed to map genomic termini, which confirmed termini predicted by coverage analysis. This suggests that sequence coverage discontinuities may be useable as predictors of genomic termini in phage genomes. Genomic modules encoding virion morphogenesis, lysis and DNA replication proteins were identified. The phiCbK-like phages were also found to encode a number of intriguing proteins; all contain a clearly T7-like DNA polymerase, and five of the six encode a possible homolog of the C. crescentus cell cycle regulator GcrA, which may allow the phage to alter the host cell’s replicative state. The structural proteome of phage phiCbK was determined, identifying the portal, major and minor capsid proteins, the tail tape measure and possible tail fiber proteins. All six phage genomes are clearly related; phiCbK, CcrMagneto, CcrSwift, CcrKarma and CcrRogue form a group related at the DNA level, while CcrColossus is more diverged but retains significant similarity at the protein level.
Due to their lack of any apparent relationship to other described phages, this group is proposed as the founding cohort of a new phage type, the phiCbK-like phages. This work will serve as a foundation for future studies on morphogenesis, infection and phage-host interactions in C. crescentus.
PMCID: PMC3556154  PMID: 23050599
Bacteriophage; Genomics; Caulobacter crescentus; phiCbK
24.  Isolation and characterization of ZZ1, a novel lytic phage that infects Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:156.
Acinetobacter baumannii, a significant nosocomial pathogen, has evolved resistance to almost all conventional antimicrobial drugs. Bacteriophage therapy is a potential alternative treatment for multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. In this study, one lytic bacteriophage, ZZ1, which infects A. baumannii and has a broad host range, was selected for characterization.
Phage ZZ1 and 3 of its natural hosts, A. baumanni clinical isolates AB09V, AB0902, and AB0901, are described in this study. The 3 strains have different sensitivities to ZZ1, but they have the same sensitivity to antibiotics. They are resistant to almost all of the antibiotics tested, except for polymyxin. Several aspects of the life cycle of ZZ1 were investigated using the sensitive strain AB09V under optimal growth conditions. ZZ1 is highly infectious with a short latent period (9 min) and a large burst size (200 PFU/cell). It exhibited the most powerful antibacterial activity at temperatures ranging from 35°C to 39°C. Moreover, when ZZ1 alone was incubated at different pHs and different temperatures, the phage was stable over a wide pH range (4 to 9) and at extreme temperatures (between 50°C and 60°C). ZZ1 possesses a 100-nm icosahedral head containing double-stranded DNA with a total length of 166,682 bp and a 120-nm long contractile tail. Morphologically, it could be classified as a member of the Myoviridae family and the Caudovirales order. Bioinformatic analysis of the phage whole genome sequence further suggested that ZZ1 was more likely to be a new member of the Myoviridae phages. Most of the predicted ORFs of the phage were similar to the predicted ORFs from other Acinetobacter phages.
The phage ZZ1 has a relatively broad lytic spectrum, high pH stability, strong heat resistance, and efficient antibacterial potential at body temperature. These characteristics greatly increase the utility of this phage as an antibacterial agent; thus, it should be further investigated.
PMCID: PMC3438129  PMID: 22838726
Acinetobacter baumannii ; Bacteriophage; Characterization
25.  First genome sequences of Achromobacter phages reveal new members of the N4 family 
Virology Journal  2014;11:14.
Multi-resistant Achromobacter xylosoxidans has been recognized as an emerging pathogen causing nosocomially acquired infections during the last years. Phages as natural opponents could be an alternative to fight such infections. Bacteriophages against this opportunistic pathogen were isolated in a recent study. This study shows a molecular analysis of two podoviruses and reveals first insights into the genomic structure of Achromobacter phages so far.
Growth curve experiments and adsorption kinetics were performed for both phages. Adsorption and propagation in cells were visualized by electron microscopy. Both phage genomes were sequenced with the PacBio RS II system based on single molecule, real-time (SMRT) technology and annotated with several bioinformatic tools. To further elucidate the evolutionary relationships between the phage genomes, a phylogenomic analysis was conducted using the genome Blast Distance Phylogeny approach (GBDP).
In this study, we present the first detailed analysis of genome sequences of two Achromobacter phages so far. Phages JWAlpha and JWDelta were isolated from two different waste water treatment plants in Germany. Both phages belong to the Podoviridae and contain linear, double-stranded DNA with a length of 72329 bp and 73659 bp, respectively. 92 and 89 putative open reading frames were identified for JWAlpha and JWDelta, respectively, by bioinformatic analysis with several tools. The genomes have nearly the same organization and could be divided into different clusters for transcription, replication, host interaction, head and tail structure and lysis. Detailed annotation via protein comparisons with BLASTP revealed strong similarities to N4-like phages.
Analysis of the genomes of Achromobacter phages JWAlpha and JWDelta and comparisons of different gene clusters with other phages revealed that they might be strongly related to other N4-like phages, especially of the Escherichia group. Although all these phages show a highly conserved genomic structure and partially strong similarities at the amino acid level, some differences could be identified. Those differences, e.g. the existence of specific genes for replication or host interaction in some N4-like phages, seem to be interesting targets for further examination of function and specific mechanisms, which might enlighten the mechanism of phage establishment in the host cell after infection.
PMCID: PMC3915230  PMID: 24468270
Achromobacter xylosoxidans; N4-like phage; Genome; Lar-like protein; N4likevirus; Podoviridae; GBDP

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