Two temperate viruses, φ3626 and φ8533, have been isolated from lysogenic Clostridium perfringens strains. Phage φ3626 was chosen for detailed analysis and was inspected by electron microscopy, protein profiling, and host range determination. For the first time, the nucleotide sequence of a bacteriophage infecting Clostridium species was determined. The virus belongs to the Siphoviridae family of the tailed phages, the order Caudovirales. Its genome consists of a linear double-stranded DNA molecule of 33,507 nucleotides, with invariable 3′-protruding cohesive ends of nine residues. Fifty open reading frames were identified, which are organized in three major life cycle-specific gene clusters. The genes required for lytic development show an opposite orientation and arrangement compared to the lysogeny control region. A function could be assigned to 19 gene products, based upon bioinformatic analyses, N-terminal amino acid sequencing, or experimental evidence. These include DNA-packaging proteins, structural components, a dual lysis system, a putative lysogeny switch, and proteins that are involved in replication, recombination, and modification of phage DNA. The presence of genes encoding a putative sigma factor related to sporulation-dependent sigma factors and a putative sporulation-dependent transcription regulator suggests a possible interaction of φ3626 with onset of sporulation in C. perfringens. We found that the φ3626 attachment site attP lies in a noncoding region immediately downstream of int. Integration of the viral genome occurs into the bacterial attachment site attB, which is located within the 3′ end of a guaA homologue. This essential housekeeping gene is functionally independent of the integration status, due to reconstitution of its terminal codons by phage sequence.
Brochothrix belongs to the low-GC branch of Gram-positive bacteria (Firmicutes), closely related to Listeria, Staphylococcus, Clostridium, and Bacillus. Brochothrix thermosphacta is a nonproteolytic food spoilage organism, adapted to growth in vacuum-packaged meats. We report the first genome sequences and characterization of Brochothrix bacteriophages. Phage A9 is a myovirus with an 89-nm capsid diameter and a 171-nm contractile tail; it belongs to the Spounavirinae subfamily and shares significant homologies with Listeria phage A511, Staphylococcus phage Twort, and others. The A9 unit genome is 127 kb long with 11-kb terminal redundancy; it encodes 198 proteins and 6 tRNAs. Phages BL3 and NF5 are temperate siphoviruses with a head diameter of 56 to 59 nm. The BL3 tail is 270 nm long, whereas NF5 features a short tail of only 94 nm. The NF5 genome (36.95 kb) encodes 57 gene products, BL3 (41.52 kb) encodes 65 products, and both are arranged in life cycle-specific modules. Surprisingly, BL3 and NF5 show little relatedness to Listeria phages but rather demonstrate relatedness to lactococcal phages. Peptide mass fingerprinting of viral proteins indicate programmed −1 translational frameshifts in the NF5 capsid and the BL3 major tail protein. Both NF5 and BL3 feature circularly permuted, terminally redundant genomes, packaged by a headful mechanism, and integrases of the serine (BL3) and tyrosine (NF5) types. They utilize unique target sequences not previously described: BL3 inserts into the 3′ end of a RNA methyltransferase, whereas NF5 integrates into the 5′-terminal part of a putative histidinol-phosphatase. Interestingly, both genes are reconstituted by phage sequence.
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.
The hypervirulent Clostridium difficile ribotype 027 can be classified into subtypes, but it unknown if these differ in terms of severity of C. difficile infection (CDI). Genomic studies of C. difficile 027 strains have established that they are rich in mobile genetic elements including prophages. This study combined physiological studies, electron microscopy analysis and molecular biology to determine the potential role of temperate bacteriophages in disease and diversity of C. difficile 027.
We induced prophages from 91 clinical C. difficile 027 isolates and used transmission electron microscopy and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to characterise the bacteriophages present. We established a correlation between phage morphology and subtype. Morphologically distinct tailed bacteriophages belonging to Myoviridae and Siphoviridae were identified in 63 and three isolates, respectively. Dual phage carriage was observed in four isolates. In addition, there were inducible phage tail-like particles (PT-LPs) in all isolates. The capacity of two antibiotics mitomycin C and norfloxacin to induce prophages was compared and it was shown that they induced specific prophages from C. difficile isolates. A PCR assay targeting the capsid gene of the myoviruses was designed to examine molecular diversity of C. difficile myoviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of the capsid gene sequences from eight ribotypes showed that all sequences found in the ribotype 027 isolates were identical and distinct from other C. difficile ribotypes and other bacteria species.
A diverse set of temperate bacteriophages are associated with C. difficile 027. The observed correlation between phage carriage and the subtypes suggests that temperate bacteriophages contribute to the diversity of C. difficile 027 and may play a role in severity of disease associated with this ribotype. The capsid gene can be used as a tool to identify C. difficile myoviruses present within bacterial genomes.
The genomes of six Listeria bacteriophages were sequenced and analyzed. Phages A006, A500, B025, P35, and P40 are members of the Siphoviridae and contain double-stranded DNA genomes of between 35.6 kb and 42.7 kb. Phage B054 is a unique myovirus and features a 48.2-kb genome. Phage B025 features 3′ overlapping single-stranded genome ends, whereas the other viruses contain collections of terminally redundant, circularly permuted DNA molecules. Phages P35 and P40 have a broad host range and lack lysogeny functions, correlating with their virulent lifestyle. Phages A500, A006, and B025 integrate into bacterial tRNA genes, whereas B054 targets the 3′ end of translation elongation factor gene tsf. This is the first reported case of phage integration into such an evolutionarily conserved genetic element. Peptide fingerprinting of viral proteins revealed that both A118 and A500 utilize +1 and −1 programmed translational frameshifting for generating major capsid and tail shaft proteins with C termini of different lengths. In both cases, the unusual +1 frameshift at the 3′ ends of the tsh coding sequences is induced by overlapping proline codons and cis-acting shifty stops. Although Listeria phage genomes feature a conserved organization, they also show extensive mosaicism within the genome building blocks. Of particular interest is B025, which harbors a collection of modules and sequences with relatedness not only to other Listeria phages but also to viruses infecting other members of the Firmicutes. In conclusion, our results yield insights into the composition and diversity of Listeria phages and provide new information on their function, genome adaptation, and evolution.
Bacteriophages are considered to be the most abundant biological entities on the planet. The Siphoviridae are the most commonly encountered tailed phages and contain double-stranded DNA with an average genome size of ∼50 kb. This paper describes the isolation from four different activated sludge plants of the phage RRH1, which is polyvalent, lysing five Rhodococcus species. It has a capsid diameter of only ∼43 nm. Whole-genome sequencing of RRH1 revealed a novel circularly permuted DNA sequence (14,270 bp) carrying 20 putative open reading frames. The genome has a modular arrangement, as reported for those of most Siphoviridae phages, but appears to encode only structural proteins and carry a single lysis gene. All genes are transcribed in the same direction. RRH1 has the smallest genome yet of any described functional Siphoviridae phage. We demonstrate that lytic phage can be recovered from transforming naked DNA into its host bacterium, thus making it a potentially useful model for studying gene function in phages.
Bacteriophage Tuc2009 is a temperate bacteriophage with a small isometric head and is isolated from Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris UC509. The phage genome is packaged by a headful mechanism, giving rise to circularly permuted molecules with terminal redundancy. The unit genome size is approximately 39 kb. A map of the phage genome on which several determinants could be localized was constructed: pac, the site of initiation of DNA packaging; lys (1,287 bp), specifying the phage lysin; S (267 bp), specifying a putative holin; and mp1 (522 bp) and mp2 (498 bp), each specifying one of the phage's structural proteins. lys, S, mp1, and mp2 were further characterized. lys and S are partially overlapping and appear to be part of one operon. The lysin shows homology to the lysins of the Streptococcus pneumoniae phages Cp-9, Cp-1, and Cp-7. The putative holin, which is thought to be involved in the release of lysin from the cytoplasm, contains two strongly hydrophobic presumptive transmembrane domains and a highly charged C-terminal domain.
Prophage Lrm1 was induced with mitomycin C from an industrial Lactobacillus rhamnosus starter culture, M1. Electron microscopy of the lysate revealed relatively few intact bacteriophage particles among empty heads and disassociated tails. The defective Siphoviridae phage had an isometric head of approximately 55 nm and noncontractile tail of about 275 nm with a small baseplate. In repeated attempts, the prophage could not be cured from L. rhamnosus M1, nor could a sensitive host be identified. Sequencing of the phage Lrm1 DNA revealed a genome of 39,989 bp and a G+C content of 45.5%. A similar genomic organization and mosaic pattern of identities align Lrm1 among the closely related Lactobacillus casei temperate phages A2, ΦAT3, and LcaI and with L. rhamnosus virulent phage Lu-Nu. Of the 54 open reading frames (ORFs) identified, all but 8 shared homology with other phages of this group. Five unknown ORFs were identified that had no homologies in the databases nor predicted functions. Notably, Lrm1 encodes a putative endonuclease and a putative DNA methylase with homology to a methylase in Lactococcus lactis phage Tuc2009. Possibly, the DNA methylase, endonuclease, or other Lrm1 genes provide a function crucial to L. rhamnosus M1 survival, resulting in the stability of the defective prophage in its lysogenic state. The presence of a defective prophage in an industrial strain could provide superinfection immunity to the host but could also contribute DNA in recombination events to produce new phages potentially infective for the host strain in a large-scale fermentation environment.
Tailed-bacteriophage virions contain a single linear dsDNA chromosome which can range in size from about 18 to 500 kbp across the known tailed-phage types. These linear chromosomes can have one of several known types of termini as follows: cohesive ends (5′- or 3′-single-strand extensions), circularly permuted direct terminal repeats, short or long exact direct terminal repeats, terminal host DNA sequences, or covalently bound terminal proteins. These different types of ends reflect differing DNA replication strategies and especially differing terminase actions during DNA packaging. In general, complete genome sequence determination does not by itself elucidate the nature of these ends, so directed experimental analysis is usually required to understand the nature of the virion chromosome ends. This chapter discusses these methods.
Terminase; tailed-phages; cohesive ends; terminal redundancy; DNA packaging
Bacteriophage CMP1 is a member of the Siphoviridae family that infects specifically the plant-pathogen Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis. The linear double- stranded DNA is terminally redundant and not circularly permuted. The complete nucleotide sequence of the bacteriophage CMP1 genome consists of 58,652 bp including the terminal redundant ends of 791 bp. The G+C content of the phage (57%) is significantly lower than that of its host (72.66%). 74 potential open reading frames were identified and annotated by different bioinformatic tools. Two large clusters which encode the early and the late functions could be identified which are divergently transcribed. There are only a few hypothetical gene products with conserved domains and significant similarity to sequences from the databases. Functional analyses confirmed the activity of four gene products, an endonuclease, an exonuclease, a single-stranded DNA binding protein and a thymidylate synthase. Partial genomic sequences of CN77, a phage of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis, revealed a similar genome structure and significant similarities on the level of deduced amino acid sequences. An endolysin with peptidase activity has been identified for both phages, which may be good tools for disease control of tomato plants against Clavibacter infections.
phage CMP1; phage CN77; clavibacter; genome sequence; endolysin
Eight temperate phages were characterized after mitomycin C induction of six Clostridium difficile isolates corresponding to six distinct PCR ribotypes. The hypervirulent C. difficile strain responsible for a multi-institutional outbreak (NAP1/027 or QCD-32g58) was among these prophage-containing strains. Observation of the crude lysates by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed the presence of three phages with isometric capsids and long contractile tails (Myoviridae family), as well as five phages with long noncontractile tails (Siphoviridae family). TEM analyses also revealed the presence of a significant number of phage tail-like particles in all the lysates. Southern hybridization experiments with restricted prophage DNA showed that C. difficile phages belonging to the family Myoviridae are highly similar and most likely related to previously described prophages φC2, φC5, and φCD119. On the other hand, members of the Siphoviridae phage family are more genetically divergent, suggesting that they originated from distantly related ancestors. Our data thus suggest that there are at least three genetically distinct groups of temperate phages in C. difficile; one group is composed of highly related myophages, and the other two groups are composed of more genetically heterogeneous siphophages. Finally, no gene homologous to genes encoding C. difficile toxins or toxin regulators could be identified in the genomes of these phages using DNA hybridization. Interestingly, each unique phage restriction profile correlated with a specific C. difficile PCR ribotype.
Temperature bacteriophage CP-T1 of Vibrio cholerae has a capsid that is 45 nm in diameter, a contractile tail 65 nm long and 9.5 nm wide, and a baseplate with several spikes or short tail fibers. The linear double-stranded DNA is 43.5 +/- 1.4 kilobases long, and the phage genome is both terminally redundant and partially circularly permuted. The extent of terminal redundancy is ca. 4%, and circular permutation is up to ca. 44%. Circular restriction maps have been constructed for the enzymes HindIII, EcoRI, BamHI, and PstI. By restriction endonuclease and heteroduplex analyses of phage DNA, the presence and location of a site (pac) at which packaging of phage DNA is initiated was established.
Investigating the bacteriophages of vibrios has led to significant insights into the evolution and pathogenicity of their host strains. This report presents the first complete genome sequence of a bacteriophage that infects the deadly human pathogen Vibrio vulnificus. The phage was isolated from the surface waters of the Ala Wai Canal, which is part of an urban watershed in eastern Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. The phage particle is icosahedral, with a diameter of 35-40 nm, and a small non-contractile tail. The genome was sequenced in its entirety, rendering a 38 kb sequence located on a single, linear, circularly permuted chromosome. Here, we present the annotation and genomic features of the bacteriophage, VvAW1.
Bacteriophage; vibriophage; Vibrio vulnificus; podophage; aquatic; virus
Bacteriophage S-PM2 infects several strains of the abundant and ecologically important marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus. A large lytic phage with an isometric icosahedral head, S-PM2 has a contractile tail and by this criterion is classified as a myovirus (1). The linear, circularly permuted, 196,280-bp double-stranded DNA genome of S-PM2 contains 37.8% G+C residues. It encodes 239 open reading frames (ORFs) and 25 tRNAs. Of these ORFs, 19 appear to encode proteins associated with the cell envelope, including a putative S-layer-associated protein. Twenty additional S-PM2 ORFs have homologues in the genomes of their cyanobacterial hosts. There is a group I self-splicing intron within the gene encoding the D1 protein. A total of 40 ORFs, organized into discrete clusters, encode homologues of T4 proteins involved in virion morphogenesis, nucleotide metabolism, gene regulation, and DNA replication and repair. The S-PM2 genome encodes a few surprisingly large (e.g., 3,779 amino acids) ORFs of unknown function. Our analysis of the S-PM2 genome suggests that many of the unknown S-PM2 functions may be involved in the adaptation of the metabolism of the host cell to the requirements of phage infection. This hypothesis originates from the identification of multiple phage-mediated modifications of the host's photosynthetic apparatus that appear to be essential for maintaining energy production during the lytic cycle.
The physical nature of temperate Bacillus bacteriophage SP16 DNA was analyzed by electron microscopy, exonuclease digestion, denaturation-renaturation experiments, and restriction enzyme analysis. The SP16 genome is a linear molecule 60.0 +/- 2.0 kilobases in length without cohesive ends. Electron micrographs of denatured and renatured SP16 DNA showed that the DNA is circularly permuted. The genome possesses terminal redundancy, as demonstrated by electron microscopy of exonuclease III-digested DNA.
A temperate bacteriophage (F108) has been isolated through mitomycin C induction of a Pasteurella multocida serogroup A strain. F108 has a typical morphology of the family Myoviridae, presenting a hexagonal head and a long contractile tail. F108 is able to infect all P. multocida serogroup A strains tested but not those belonging to other serotypes. Bacteriophage F108, the first P. multocida phage sequenced so far, presents a 30,505-bp double-stranded DNA genome with cohesive ends (CTTCCTCCCC cos site). The F108 genome shows the highest homology with those of Haemophilus influenzae HP1 and HP2 phages. Furthermore, an F108 prophage attachment site in the P. multocida chromosome has been established to be inside a gene encoding tRNALeu. By using several chromosomal markers that are spread along the P. multocida chromosome, it has been demonstrated that F108 is able to perform generalized transduction. This fact, together with the absence of pathogenic genes in the F108 genome, makes this bacteriophage a valuable tool for P. multocida genetic manipulation.
We report on a genomic and functional analysis of a novel marine siphovirus, the Vibrio phage SIO-2. This phage is lytic for related Vibrio species of great ecological interest including the broadly antagonistic bacterium Vibrio sp. SWAT3 as well as notable members of the Harveyi clade (V. harveyi ATTC BAA-1116 and V. campbellii ATCC 25920). Vibrio phage SIO-2 has a circularly permuted genome of 80,598 bp, which displays unusual features. This genome is larger than that of most known siphoviruses and only 38 of the 116 predicted proteins had homologues in databases. Another divergence is manifest by the origin of core genes, most of which share robust similarities with unrelated viruses and bacteria spanning a wide range of phyla. These core genes are arranged in the same order as in most bacteriophages but they are unusually interspaced at two places with insertions of DNA comprising a high density of uncharacterized genes. The acquisition of these DNA inserts is associated with morphological variation of SIO-2 capsid, which assembles as a large (80 nm) shell with a novel T=12 symmetry. These atypical structural features confer on SIO-2 a remarkable stability to a variety of physical, chemical and environmental factors. Given this high level of functional and genomic novelty, SIO-2 emerges as a model of considerable interest in ecological and evolutionary studies.
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.
Temperate bacteriophages play an important role in the pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus, for instance, by mediating the horizontal gene transfer of virulence factors. Here we established a classification scheme for staphylococcal prophages of the major Siphoviridae family based on integrase gene polymorphism. Seventy-one published genome sequences of staphylococcal phages were clustered into distinct integrase groups which were related to the chromosomal integration site and to the encoded virulence gene content. Analysis of three marker modules (lysogeny, tail, and lysis) for phage functional units revealed that these phages exhibit different degrees of genome mosaicism. The prevalence of prophages in a representative S. aureus strain collection consisting of 386 isolates of diverse origin was determined. By linking the phage content to dominant S. aureus clonal complexes we could show that the distribution of bacteriophages varied remarkably between lineages, indicating restriction-based barriers. A comparison of colonizing and invasive S. aureus strain populations revealed that hlb-converting phages were significantly more frequent in colonizing strains.
Bacteriophage classification is mainly based on morphological traits and genome characteristics combined with host information and in some cases on phage growth lifestyle. A lack of molecular tools can impede more precise studies on phylogenetic relationships or even a taxonomic classification. The use of methods to analyze genome sequences without the requirement for homology has allowed advances in classification.
Here, we proposed to use genome sequence signature to characterize bacteriophages and to compare them to their host genome signature in order to obtain host-phage relationships and information on their lifestyle. We analyze the host-phage relationships in the four most representative groups of Caudoviridae, the dsDNA group of phages. We demonstrate that the use of phage genomic signature and its comparison with that of the host allows a grouping of phages and is also able to predict the host-phage relationships (lytic vs. temperate).
We can thus condense, in relatively simple figures, this phage information dispersed over many publications.
Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, spore-forming anaerobic bacterium responsible for human food-borne disease as well as non-food-borne human, animal and poultry diseases. Because bacteriophages or their gene products could be applied to control bacterial diseases in a species-specific manner, they are potential important alternatives to antibiotics. Consequently, poultry intestinal material, soil, sewage and poultry processing drainage water were screened for virulent bacteriophages that lysed C. perfringens. Two bacteriophages, designated ΦCPV4 and ΦZP2, were isolated in the Moscow Region of the Russian Federation while another closely related virus, named ΦCP7R, was isolated in the southeastern USA. The viruses were identified as members of the order Caudovirales in the family Podoviridae with short, non-contractile tails of the C1 morphotype. The genomes of the three bacteriophages were 17.972, 18.078 and 18.397 kbp respectively; encoding twenty-six to twenty-eight ORF's with inverted terminal repeats and an average GC content of 34.6%. Structural proteins identified by mass spectrometry in the purified ΦCP7R virion included a pre-neck/appendage with putative lyase activity, major head, tail, connector/upper collar, lower collar and a structural protein with putative lysozyme-peptidase activity. All three podoviral bacteriophage genomes encoded a predicted N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase and a putative stage V sporulation protein. Each putative amidase contained a predicted bacterial SH3 domain at the C-terminal end of the protein, presumably involved with binding the C. perfringens cell wall. The predicted DNA polymerase type B protein sequences were closely related to other members of the Podoviridae including Bacillus phage Φ29. Whole-genome comparisons supported this relationship, but also indicated that the Russian and USA viruses may be unique members of the sub-family Picovirinae.
FP43 is a temperate bacteriophage for Streptomyces griseofuscus that forms plaques on many Streptomyces species. FP43 virions contain 56 kb of double-strand DNA that is circularly permuted and terminally redundant, and contains 65% G + C. A physical map of the FP43 genome was constructed, and the origin for headful packaging (pac) was localized to an 8.8-kb region of the genome (hft) that mediates high-frequency transduction by FP43 of plasmid pRHB101. The phage attachment site (attP), a replication origin (rep), a region that inhibits plaque formation (pin), and a 3-kb deletion (rpt) that caused a 100-fold reduction in plasmid transduction were mapped.
Streptococcus suis infection is considered to be a major problem in the swine industry worldwide. Most virulent Canadian isolates of S. suis serotype 2 do not produce the known virulence markers for this pathogen. PCR-based subtraction hybridization was adapted to isolate unique DNA sequences which were specific to virulent strains of S. suis isolated in Canada. Analysis of some subtracted DNA clones revealed significant homology with bacteriophages of gram-positive bacteria. An inducible phage (named Ss1) was observed in S. suis following the incubation of the virulent strain 89-999 with mitomycin C. Phage Ss1 has a long noncontractile tail and a small isometric nucleocapsid and is a member of the Siphoviridae family. Ss1 phage DNA appears to be present in most Canadian S. suis strains tested in this study, which were isolated from diseased pigs or had proven virulence in mouse or pig models. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the isolation of a phage in S. suis.
Temperate bacteriophage D3, a member of the virus family Siphoviridae, is responsible for serotype conversion in its host, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The complete sequence of the double-stranded DNA genome has been determined. The 56,426 bp contains 90 putative open reading frames (ORFs) and four genes specifying tRNAs. The latter are specific for methionine (AUG), glycine (GGA), asparagine (AAC), and threonine (ACA). The tRNAs may function in the translation of certain highly expressed proteins from this relatively AT-rich genome. D3 proteins which exhibited a high degree of sequence similarity to previously characterized phage proteins included the portal, major head, tail, and tail tape measure proteins, endolysin, integrase, helicase, and NinG. The layout of genes was reminiscent of lambdoid phages, with the exception of the placement of the endolysin gene, which parenthetically also lacked a cognate holin. The greatest sequence similarity was found in the morphogenesis genes to coliphages HK022 and HK97. Among the ORFs was discovered the gene encoding the fucosamine O-acetylase, which is in part responsible for the serotype conversion events.
The entire double-stranded DNA genome of the Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans bacteriophage AaΦ23 was sequenced. Linear DNA contained in the phage particles is circularly permuted and terminally redundant. Therefore, the physical map of the phage genome is circular. Its size is 43,033 bp with an overall molar G+C content of 42.5 mol%. Sixty-six potential open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, including an ORF resulting from a translational frameshift. A putative function could be assigned to 23 of them. Twenty-three other ORFs share homologies only with hypothetical proteins present in several bacteria or bacteriophages, and 20 ORFs seem to be specific for phage AaΦ23. The organization of the phage genome and several genetic functions share extensive similarities to that of the lambdoid phages. However, AaΦ23 encodes a DNA adenine methylase, and the DNA packaging strategy is more closely related to the P22 system. The attachment sites of AaΦ23 (attP) and several A. actinomycetemcomitans hosts (attB) are 49 bp long.