Purified slime polysaccharide B and lipopolysaccharide of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain BI were shown to possess receptor-like properties in inactivating Pseudomonas phage 2, whereas lipoprotein and glycopeptide fractions were devoid of activity. On a weight basis, slime polysaccharide B was more effective than lipopolysaccharide in inactivating phage. The specificity of the reaction with slime polysaccharide B was indicated by the fact that slime polysaccharide A of P. aeruginosa strain EI failed to inactivate phage 2. Electron micrographs showed phage 2 in typical, tail-first position of attachment on intact cells of strain BI, slime polysaccharide B, and lipopolysaccharide. Tail fibers were discernible during phage attachment.
Anna Sergeyevna Tikhonenko (1925–2010) is to be remembered for the excellency of her electron microscopical work, particularly with bacteriophages. She published 113 articles and one book, Ultrastructure of Bacterial Viruses (Izdadelstvo Nauka, Moscow 1968; Plenum Press, New York, 1972). It included 134 micrographs and a complete overview of the 316 phages then examined by electron microscopy. Most micrographs were of exceptional quality. This book, a rarity in those days of strict separation of Soviet and Western research, was the first bacteriophage atlas in the literature and presented a morphological classification of phages into five categories of family level, similar to a scheme presented in 1965 by D.E. Bradley (J Royal Microsc Soc 84:257–316). Her book remains one of the fundamentals of phage research.
TEM; biography; classification; history; immuno-EM
A virulent double-stranded DNA bacteriophage, ΦK1-5, has been isolated and found to be capable of infecting Escherichia coli strains that possess either the K1 or the K5 polysaccharide capsule. Electron micrographs show that the virion consists of a small icosohedral head with short tail spikes, similar to members of the Podoviridae family. DNA sequence analysis of the region encoding the tail fiber protein showed two open reading frames encoding previously characterized hydrolytic phage tail fiber proteins. The first is the K5 lyase protein gene of ΦK5, which allows this phage to specifically infect K5 E. coli strains. A second open reading frame encodes a protein almost identical in amino acid sequence to the N-acetylneuraminidase (endosialidase) protein of ΦK1E, which allows this phage to specifically infect K1 strains of E. coli. We provide experimental evidence that mature phage particles contain both tail fiber proteins, and mutational analysis indicates that each protein can be independently inactivated. A comparison of the tail gene regions of ΦK5, ΦK1E, and ΦK1-5 shows that the genes are arranged in a modular or cassette configuration and suggests that this family of phages can broaden host range by horizontal gene transfer.
Two coliphages, AR1 and LG1, were characterized based on their morphological, host range, and genetic properties. Transmission electron microscopy showed that both phages belonged to the Myoviridae; phage particles of LG1 were smaller than those of AR1 and had an isometric head 68 nm in diameter and a complex contractile tail 111 nm in length. Transmission electron micrographs of AR1 showed phage particles consisting of an elongated isometric head of 103 by 74 nm and a complex contractile tail 116 nm in length. Both phages were extensively tested on many strains of Escherichia coli and other enterobacteria. The results showed that both phages could infect many serotypes of E. coli. Among the enterobacteria, Proteus mirabilis, Shigella dysenteriae, and two Salmonella strains were lysed by the phages. The genetic material of AR1 and LG1 was characterized. Phage LG1 had a genome size of 49.5 kb compared to 150 kb for AR1. Restriction endonuclease analysis showed that several restriction enzymes could degrade DNA from both phages. The morphological, genome size, and restriction endonuclease similarities between AR1 and phage T4 were striking. Southern hybridizations showed that AR1 and T4 are genetically related. The wide host ranges of phages AR1 and LG1 suggest that they may be useful as biocontrol, therapeutic, or diagnostic agents to control and detect the prevalence of E. coli in animals and food.
A bacteriophage encoding the Shiga toxin 2c variant (Stx2c) was isolated from the human Escherichia coli O157 strain CB2851 and shown to form lysogens on the E. coli K-12 laboratory strains C600 and MG1655. Production of Stx2c was found in the wild-type E. coli O157 strain and the K-12 lysogens and was inducible by growing bacteria in the presence of ciprofloxacin. Phage 2851 is the first reported viable bacteriophage which carries an stx2c gene. Electron micrographs of phage 2851 showed particles with elongated hexagonal heads and long flexible tails resembling phage lambda. Sequence analysis of an 8.4-kb region flanking the stx2c gene and other genetic elements revealed a mosaic gene structure, as found in other Stx phages. Phage 2851 showed lysis of E. coli K-12 strains lysogenic for Stx phages encoding Stx1 (H19), Stx2 (933W), Stx (7888), and Stx1c (6220) but showed superinfection immunity with phage lambda, presumably originating from the similarity of the cI repressor proteins of both phages. Apparently, phage 2851 integrates at a different chromosomal locus than Stx2 phage 933W and Stx1 phage H19 in E. coli, explaining why Stx2c is often found in combination with Stx1 or Stx2 in E. coli O157 strains. Diagnostic PCR was performed to determine gene sequences specific for phage 2851 in wild-type E. coli O157 strains producing Stx2c. The phage 2851 q and o genes were frequently detected in Stx2c-producing E. coli O157 strains, indicating that phages related to 2851 are associated with Stx2c production in strains of E. coli O157 that were isolated in different locations and time periods.
C1, a lytic bacteriophage infecting group C streptococci, is one of the earliest-isolated phages, and the method of bacterial classification known as phage typing was defined by using this bacteriophage. We present for the first time a detailed analysis of this phage by use of electron microscopy, protein profiling, and complete nucleotide sequencing. This virus belongs to the Podoviridae family of phages, all of which are characterized by short, noncontractile tails. The C1 genome consists of a linear double-stranded DNA molecule of 16,687 nucleotides with 143-bp inverted terminal repeats. We have assigned functions to 9 of 20 putative open reading frames based on experimental substantiation or bioinformatic analysis. Their products include DNA polymerase, holin, lysin, major capsid, head-tail connector, neck appendage, and major tail proteins. Additionally, we found one intron belonging to the HNH endonuclease family interrupting the apparent lysin gene, suggesting a potential splicing event yielding a functional lytic enzyme. Examination of the C1 DNA polymerase suggests that this phage utilizes a protein-primed mechanism of replication, which is prominent in the φ29-like members of Podoviridae. Consistent with this evidence, we experimentally determined that terminal proteins are covalently attached to both 5′ termini, despite the fact that no homology to known terminal proteins could be elucidated in any of our open reading frames. Likewise, comparative genomics revealed no close evolutionary matches, suggesting that the C1 bacteriophage is a unique member of the Podoviridae.
The Caulobacter crescentus bacteriophage φCbK was studied with respect to the physical and chemical properties of both the phage and its deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Electron micrographs reveal the phage to be among the largest DNA bacteriophages reported, with head dimensions of 64 by 195 nm and a flexible tail 275 nm in length. The phage is composed of 57% DNA. This DNA is double-stranded as indicated by (i) the sharp increase in extinction coefficient over a narrow range of temperature increase, (ii) an increase in density in CsCl upon thermal denaturation, and (iii) the equivalence of guanine and cytosine as well as adenine and thymine, determined by chemical analysis. φCbK DNA cosediments with Escherichia coli phage T2 DNA and has therefore been assigned an S20,w value of 63.5S. The size of the phage and its DNA and the percentage of DNA indicate that the φCbK phage head is relatively loosely packed. The properties of the DNA from bacteriophage φCbK are similar to those of host C. crescentus DNA with respect to buoyant density, thermal transition point, and guanine plus cytosine content.
Lee, Lucy F. (Michigan State University, East Lansing), and J. A. Boezi. Characterization of bacteriophage gh-1 for Pseudomonas putida. J. Bacteriol. 92:1821–1827. 1966.—Bacteriophage gh-1 of Pseudomonas putida A.3.12 was isolated and purified by differential centrifugation and diethylaminoethyl (DEAE) cellulose chromatography. An electron micrograph of the phage stained with uranyl acetate revealed a regular hexagonal outline about 50 mμ across with a short wedge-shaped tail attached at one corner of the head. The phage formed 10% as many plaques on P. putida C1S as on P. putida A.3.12, the organism used in the isolation procedure. No plaques were formed on P. fluorescens (ATCC 9712) or P. aeruginosa. The latent period of the infectious cycle was 21 min, and the average burst size was 103. The nucleic acid component of gh-1 is double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), with a base composition of 57.0% guanine plus cytosine (G + C) as determined by chemical analysis. The per cent G + C of P. putida A.3.12 DNA measured in a similar manner was 63.7%. The buoyant density of phage gh-1 measured by cesium chloride equilibrium centrifugation was 1.45 g/cm3, whereas that of gh-1 DNA, heat-denatured gh-1 DNA, and P. putida A.3.12 DNA was 1.716, 1.730, and 1.722 g/cm3, respectively. The per cent G + C of gh-1 DNA and P. putida A.3.12 DNA calculated from the buoyant densities was 57.1 and 63.3%, respectively. The sedimentation coefficients, S5020,w, of gh-1 and the phenol-extracted gh-1 DNA, measured by the boundary sedimentation velocity method, were 460 and 18.9, respectively. The molecular weight of phenol-extracted gh-1 DNA, calculated by use of the equation of Burgi and Hershey, is 6 × 106.
Eighteen bacteriophages lytic for Vibrio parahaemolyticus were isolated from seawater, and their ultrastructure was examined by electron microscopy. Based on the phage morphology, they were classified in four groups. Group I phages consisted of a hexagonal head and a tail with a contractile sheath. All the phages of the other three groups had a relatively long, noncontractile tail, but there were differences in the head structure among these phages. The phages of groups II and III had a hexagonal head and an elongated polyhedral head, respectively. Group IV phages exhibited a unique hexagonal head with knoblike projections. There appeared to be no correlation between the O and K serotypes of V. parahaemolyticus strains and the host ranges of the phages. The phages had varying sensitivities to heat and organic solvents.
Two temperate bacteriophages of differing morphology and host range were isolated by screening 94 isolates of Clostridium difficile. Phage 41 had a 300-nm flexible tail, whereas phage 56 had a shorter tail with a contractile sheath. Electron microscopy of phage 56 lysates exposed to elevated magnesium concentrations showed small virus-like particles which were 21 nm in diameter. The addition of MgCl2 to semisolid agar overlays enhanced both the titer and plaque size of phage 56. Phage 56 was more temperature labile than phage 41 and demonstrated unusual lability in buffer at pH 7.0. One-step growth and adsorption experiments revealed that both phages had latent periods of about 60 min, but phage 56 adsorbed to its indicator strain more efficiently. Phage 56, which was obtained from a toxigenic strain of C. difficile, was used to lysogenize its nontoxigenic indicator strain, but no conversion to toxigenicity was observed in this strain.
Bacteriophage D3112 represents one of two distinct groups of transposable phage found in the clinically relevant, opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To further our understanding of transposable phage in P. aeruginosa, we have sequenced the complete genome of D3112. The genome is 37,611 bp, with an overall G+C content of 65%. We have identified 53 potential open reading frames, including three genes (the c repressor gene and early genes A and B) that have been previously characterized and sequenced. The organization of the putative coding regions corresponds to published genetic and transcriptional maps and is very similar to that of enterobacteriophage Mu. In contrast, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has classified D3112 as a λ-like phage on the basis of its morphology. Similarity-based analyses identified 27 open reading frames with significant matches to proteins in the NCBI databases. Forty-eight percent of these were similar to Mu-like phage and prophage sequences, including proteins responsible for transposition, transcriptional regulation, virion morphogenesis, and capsid formation. The tail proteins were highly similar to prophage sequences in Escherichia coli and phage Phi12 from Staphylococcus aureus, while proteins at the right end were highly similar to proteins in Xylella fastidiosa. We performed phylogenetic analyses to understand the evolutionary relationships of D3112 with respect to Mu-like versus λ-like bacteriophages. Different results were obtained from similarity-based versus phylogenetic analyses in some instances. Overall, our findings reveal a highly mosaic structure and suggest that extensive horizontal exchange of genetic material played an important role in the evolution of D3112.
Here we report the first direct counts of soil bacteriophage and show that substantial populations of these viruses exist in soil (grand mean = 1.5 × 107 g−1), at least 350-fold more than the highest numbers estimated from traditional viable plaque counts. Adding pure cultures of a Serratia phage to soil showed that the direct counting methods with electron microscopy developed here underestimated the added phage populations by at least eightfold. So, assuming natural phages were similarly underestimated, virus numbers in soil averaged 1.5 × 108 g−1, which is equivalent to 4% of the total population of bacteria. This high abundance was to some extent confirmed by hybridizing colonies grown on Serratia and Pseudomonas selective media with cocktails of phage infecting these bacteria. This showed that 8.9 and 3.9%, respectively, hybridized with colonies from the two media and confirmed the presence of phage DNA sequences in the cultivable fraction of the natural population. Thus, soil phage, like their aquatic counterparts, are likely to be important in controlling bacterial populations and mediating gene transfer in soil.
The first step in bacteriophage infection is recognition and binding to the host receptor, which is mediated by the phage receptor binding protein (RBP). Different RBPs can lead to differential host specificity. In many bacteriophages, such as Escherichia coli and Lactococcal phages, RBPs have been identified as the tail fiber or protruding baseplate proteins. However, the tail fiber-dependent host specificity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa phages has not been well studied. This study aimed to identify and investigate the binding specificity of the RBP of P. aeruginosa phages PaP1 and JG004. These two phages share high DNA sequence homology but exhibit different host specificities. A spontaneous mutant phage was isolated and exhibited broader host range compared with the parental phage JG004. Sequencing of its putative tail fiber and baseplate region indicated a single point mutation in ORF84 (a putative tail fiber gene), which resulted in the replacement of a positively charged lysine (K) by an uncharged asparagine (N). We further demonstrated that the replacement of the tail fiber gene (ORF69) of PaP1 with the corresponding gene from phage JG004 resulted in a recombinant phage that displayed altered host specificity. Our study revealed the tail fiber-dependent host specificity in P. aeruginosa phages and provided an effective tool for its alteration. These contributions may have potential value in phage therapy.
The bacteriophage vB_YecM-ϕR1-37 (ϕR1-37) is a lytic yersiniophage that can propagate naturally in different Yersinia species carrying the correct lipopolysaccharide receptor. This large-tailed phage has deoxyuridine (dU) instead of thymidine in its DNA. In this study, we determined the genomic sequence of phage ϕR1-37, mapped parts of the phage transcriptome, characterized the phage particle proteome, and characterized the virion structure by cryo-electron microscopy and image reconstruction. The 262,391-bp genome of ϕR1-37 is one of the largest sequenced phage genomes, and it contains 367 putative open reading frames (ORFs) and 5 tRNA genes. Mass-spectrometric analysis identified 69 phage particle structural proteins with the genes scattered throughout the genome. A total of 269 of the ORFs (73%) lack homologues in sequence databases. Based on terminator and promoter sequences identified from the intergenic regions, the phage genome was predicted to consist of 40 to 60 transcriptional units. Image reconstruction revealed that the ϕR1-37 capsid consists of hexameric capsomers arranged on a T=27 lattice similar to the bacteriophage ϕKZ. The tail of ϕR1-37 has a contractile sheath. We conclude that phage ϕR1-37 is a representative of a novel phage type that carries the dU-containing genome in a ϕKZ-like head.
Bacteriophage N1 does not irreversibly adsorb to cell walls isolated from its host Micrococcus lysodeikticus strain 1 (ML-1). ML-1 walls do bind the virus in a specific but completely reversibly union. Electron microscopic examination of OsO4-treated mixtures of phage and walls revealed phage bound to wall fragments by their tail tips, suggesting that reversible phage attachment to walls involves a “tail-first” adsorption of the virus. Treatment of ML-1 walls with fluorodinitrobenzene confers upon the walls the ability to inactivate N1 phage. The relationship between reversible phage attachment to walls and the mechanism of infection by N1 phage is discussed.
A set of 83 lytic dairy bacteriophages (phages) infecting flavor-producing mesophilic starter strains of the Leuconostoc genus was characterized, and the first in-depth taxonomic scheme was established for this phage group. Phages were obtained from different sources, i.e., from dairy samples originating from 11 German dairies (50 Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides [Ln. pseudomesenteroides] phages, 4 Ln. mesenteroides phages) and from 3 external phage collections (17 Ln. pseudomesenteroides phages, 12 Ln. mesenteroides phages). All phages belonged to the Siphoviridae family of phages with isometric heads (diameter, 55 nm) and noncontractile tails (length, 140 nm). With the exception of one phage (i.e., phage ΦLN25), all Ln. mesenteroides phages lysed the same host strains and revealed characteristic globular baseplate appendages. Phage ΦLN25, with different Y-shaped appendages, had a unique host range. Apart from two phages (i.e., phages P792 and P793), all Ln. pseudomesenteroides phages shared the same host range and had plain baseplates without distinguishable appendages. They were further characterized by the presence or absence of a collar below the phage head or by unique tails with straight striations. Phages P792 and P793 with characteristic fluffy baseplate appendages could propagate only on other specific hosts. All Ln. mesenteroides and all Ln. pseudomesenteroides phages were members of two (host species-specific) distinct genotypes but shared a limited conserved DNA region specifying their structural genes. A PCR detection system was established and was shown to be reliable for the detection of all Leuconostoc phage types.
Phage therapy may become a complement to antibiotics in the treatment of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. To design efficient therapeutic cocktails, the genetic diversity of the species and the spectrum of susceptibility to bacteriophages must be investigated. Bacterial strains showing high levels of phage resistance need to be identified in order to decipher the underlying mechanisms. Here we have selected genetically diverse P. aeruginosa strains from cystic fibrosis patients and tested their susceptibility to a large collection of phages. Based on plaque morphology and restriction profiles, six different phages were purified from “pyophage”, a commercial cocktail directed against five different bacterial species, including P. aeruginosa. Characterization of these phages by electron microscopy and sequencing of genome fragments showed that they belong to 4 different genera. Among 47 P. aeruginosa strains, 13 were not lysed by any of the isolated phages individually or by pyophage. We isolated two new phages that could lyse some of these strains, and their genomes were sequenced. The presence/absence of a CRISPR-Cas system (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and Crisper associated genes) was investigated to evaluate the role of the system in phage resistance. Altogether, the results show that some P. aeruginosa strains cannot support the growth of any of the tested phages belonging to 5 different genera, and suggest that the CRISPR-Cas system is not a major defence mechanism against these lytic phages.
Successive structural changes of bacteriophage upon heating were characterized with quantitative experimental methods. In the commonly used Tris-Mg buffer, differential scanning calorimetry measurements first established that the protein capsid of phage melts at 87°C and its genomic DNA melts at 91°C. Interestingly, prior to the capsid melting, DNA was found to escape out of the capsid and subject to DNase digestion above 68°C, as concluded from light scattering, UV absorption, and electron microscopy studies. Further investigations indicated distinct temperature-dependent behaviors of the three phage proteins. Around 68°C, disruption of the tail first occurs and leads to the escape of DNA; above the capsid melting temperature of 87°C, the auxiliary protein gpD of the phage head remains soluble in solution and resists centrifugal sedimentation, whereas the major capsid protein gpE is easily precipitated and likely exists as aggregates.
In recent years interest in bacteriophages in aquatic environments has increased. Electron microscopy studies have revealed high numbers of phage particles (104 to 107 particles per ml) in the marine environment. However, the ecological role of these bacteriophages is still unknown, and the role of the phages in the control of bacterioplankton by lysis and the potential for gene transfer are disputed. Even the basic questions of the genetic relationships of the phages and the diversity of phage-host systems in aquatic environments have not been answered. We investigated the diversity of 22 phage-host systems after 85 phages were collected at one station near a German island, Helgoland, located in the North Sea. The relationships among the phages were determined by electron microscopy, DNA-DNA hybridization, and host range studies. On the basis of morphology, 11 phages were assigned to the virus family Myoviridae, 7 phages were assigned to the family Siphoviridae, and 4 phages were assigned to the family Podoviridae. DNA-DNA hybridization confirmed that there was no DNA homology between phages belonging to different families. We found that the 22 marine bacteriophages belonged to 13 different species. The host bacteria were differentiated by morphological and physiological tests and by 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing. All of the bacteria were gram negative, facultatively anaerobic, motile, and coccoid. The 16S rRNA sequences of the bacteria exhibited high levels of similarity (98 to 99%) with the sequences of organisms belonging to the genus Pseudoalteromonas, which belongs to the γ subdivision of the class Proteobacteria.
The tightly packaged dsDNA genome in the mature particles of many tailed bacteriophages has been shown to form multiple concentric rings when reconstructed from cryo-electron micrographs. However, recent single-particle DNA packaging force measurements have suggested that incompletely packaged DNA (ipDNA) is less ordered when it is shorter than ∼25% of the full genome length. The study presented here initially achieves both the isolation and the ipDNA length-based fractionation of ipDNA-containing T3 phage capsids (ipDNA-capsids) produced by DNA packaging in vivo; some ipDNA has quantized lengths, as judged by high-resolution gel electrophoresis of expelled DNA. This is the first isolation of such particles among the tailed dsDNA bacteriophages. The ipDNA-capsids are a minor component (containing ∼10-4 of packaged DNA in all particles) and are initially detected by non-denaturing gel electrophoresis after partial purification by buoyant density centrifugation. The primary contaminants are aggregates of phage particles and empty capsids. This study then investigates ipDNA conformations by the first cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) of ipDNA-capsids produced in vivo. The 3-D structures of DNA-free capsids, ipDNA-capsids with various lengths of ipDNA, and mature bacteriophage are reconstructed, which reveals the typical T=7l icosahedral shell of many tailed dsDNA bacteriophages. Though the icosahedral shell structures of these capsids are indistinguishable at the current resolution for the protein shell (∼15 Å), the conformations of the DNA inside the shell are drastically different. T3 ipDNA-capsids with 10.6 kb or shorter dsDNA (<28% of total genome) have an ipDNA conformation indistinguishable from random. However, T3 ipDNA-capsids with 22 kb DNA (58% of total genome) forms a single DNA ring next to the inner surface of the capsid shell. In contrast, dsDNA fully packaged (38.2 kb) in mature T3 phage particles forms multiple concentric rings like those seen in other tailed dsDNA bacteriophages. The distance between the icosahedral shell and the outermost DNA ring decreases in the mature, fully packaged phage structure. These results suggest that, in the early stage of DNA packaging, the dsDNA genome is randomly distributed inside the capsid, not preferentially packaged against the inner surface of the capsid shell, and that the multiple concentric dsDNA rings seen later are the results of pressure-driven close-packing.
Agarose gel electrophoresis; Buoyant density centrifugation; Cryo-EM; 3-D reconstruction; Mass spectrometry; DNA packaging
The inactivation kinetics of bacteriophage f2 were studied by using ozone under controlled laboratory conditions. The phage were rapidly inactivated during the first 5 s of the reaction by 5 and 7 logs at ozone concentrations of 0.09 and 0.8 mg/liter, respectively. During the next 10 min, the phage were further inactivated at a slower rate in both treatments. The [3H]uridine-labeled f2 phage and its ribonucleic acid (RNA) were examined to elucidate the mechanism of ozone inactivation, utilizing adsorption to host bacteria, sucrose density gradient analysis, and electron microscopy. The specific adsorption of the phage was reduced by ozonation in the same pattern as plaque-forming unit reduction. RNA was released from the phage particles during ozonation, although it had reduced infectivity for spheroplasts. Electron microscopic examination showed that the phage coat was broken by ozonation into many protein subunit pieces and that the specific adsorption of the phage to host pili was inversely related to the extent of phage breakage. The RNA enclosed in the phage coat was inactivated less by ozonation than were whole phage, but inactivated more than naked RNA. These findings suggest that ozone breaks the protein capsid into subunits, liberating RNA and disrupting adsorption to the host pili, and that the RNA may be secondarily sheared by a reduction with and/or without the coat protein molecules, which have been modified by ozonation.
The tail structures of bacteriophages infecting gram-positive bacteria are largely unexplored, although the phage tail mediates the initial interaction with the host cell. The temperate Lactococcus lactis phage TP901-1 of the Siphoviridae family has a long noncontractile tail with a distal baseplate. In the present study, we investigated the distal tail structures and tail assembly of phage TP901-1 by introducing nonsense mutations into the late transcribed genes dit (orf46), talTP901-1 (orf47), bppU (orf48), bppL (orf49), and orf50. Transmission electron microscopy examination of mutant and wild-type TP901-1 phages showed that the baseplate consisted of two different disks and that a central tail fiber is protruding below the baseplate. Evaluation of the mutant tail morphologies with protein profiles and Western blots revealed that the upper and lower baseplate disks consist of the proteins BppU and BppL, respectively. Likewise, Dit and TalTP901-1 were shown to be structural tail proteins essential for tail formation, and TalTP901-1 was furthermore identified as the tail fiber protein by immunogold labeling experiments. Determination of infection efficiencies of the mutant phages showed that the baseplate is fundamental for host infection and the lower disk protein, BppL, is suggested to interact with the host receptor. In contrast, ORF50 was found to be nonessential for tail assembly and host infection. A model for TP901-1 tail assembly, in which the function of eight specific proteins is considered, is presented.
We describe the purification and properties of Dp-1, a bacteriophage isolated from Diplococcus pneumoniae. The phage was sensitive to the organic solvents deoxycholate and Sarkosyl, and its infectivity was reduced by treatment with phospholipase C. Electron microscopy indicated the presence of a double-layered coat around the phage particles. Purified phage preparations contained lipid amounting to about 8.5% of the dry weight of the phage, and thin-layer chromatography resolved the lipids into four components. The phage had a buoyant density in CsCl of 1.47 g/cm3, and a sedimentation constant in 0.1 M NaCl of 313S. Analysis in acrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated the presence of three major proteins. Dp-1 DNA shows a density of 1.681 g/cm3. Neutralizing antisera against the phage have a low potency (K less than 120/min).
A total of 15 wild-type Brocothrix thermosphacta strains isolated from beef and the type strain, B. thermosphacta ATCC 11509, were used as hosts for the isolation of bacteriophages under psychrotrophic conditions (7 degrees C). A total of 21 virulent, psychrotrophic phages were successfully isolated and purified from aqueous extracts of spoiled rib steaks. Phage plaque size and plating efficiency significantly increased as incubation temperature was reduced from 25 to 1 degree C. Electron microscopy of two homologous B. thermosphacta phages showed the virions to consist of hexagonal heads and tails, with terminal appendages clearly visible on one of the phages. On the basis of culture and biochemical data, the wild-type B. thermosphacta strains had characteristics identical to those of strain ATCC 11509. However, specific differences in the pattern of susceptibilities to the phages revealed the presence of 14 distinct phage lysotypes. Phage typing may provide a rapid and sensitive means of differentiating B. thermosphacta strains.
Bacteriophages lysing strains of Thermomonospora alba and T. fusca were isolated, following specific enrichment, from vegetable composts. Four Thermomonospora phages were distinguished by plaque morphology and host range. Electron microscopy of phage particles, termperature inactivation profiles, and electrophoretic analyses of major virion proteins and genomic DNA were used in the comparison and initial characterization of these phages. The four phages studied possessed polyhedral heads and long tails; genomes were linear double-stranded DNA molecules, 35 to 45 kilobases in length, which probably contain cohesive ends. Transfection of Thermomonospora protoplasts with purified genomic DNA from one of the phages was demonstrated.