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author:("heavy, Brian")
1.  Novel Bacteriophages Containing a Genome of Another Bacteriophage within Their Genomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40683.
A novel bacteriophage infecting Staphylococus pasteuri was isolated during a screen for phages in Antarctic soils. The phage named SpaA1 is morphologically similar to phages of the family Siphoviridae. The 42,784 bp genome of SpaA1 is a linear, double-stranded DNA molecule with 3′ protruding cohesive ends. The SpaA1 genome encompasses 63 predicted protein-coding genes which cluster within three regions of the genome, each of apparently different origin, in a mosaic pattern. In two of these regions, the gene sets resemble those in prophages of Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki str. T03a001 (genes involved in DNA replication/transcription, cell entry and exit) and B. cereus AH676 (additional regulatory and recombination genes), respectively. The third region represents an almost complete genome (except for the short terminal segments) of a distinct bacteriophage, MZTP02. Nearly the same gene module was identified in prophages of B. thuringiensis serovar monterrey BGSC 4AJ1 and B. cereus Rock4-2. These findings suggest that MZTP02 can be shuttled between genomes of other bacteriophages and prophages, leading to the formation of chimeric genomes. The presence of a complete phage genome in the genome of other phages apparently has not been described previously and might represent a ‘fast track’ route of virus evolution and horizontal gene transfer. Another phage (BceA1) nearly identical in sequence to SpaA1, and also including the almost complete MZTP02 genome within its own genome, was isolated from a bacterium of the B. cereus/B. thuringiensis group. Remarkably, both SpaA1 and BceA1 phages can infect B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, but only one of them, SpaA1, can infect S. pasteuri. This finding is best compatible with a scenario in which MZTP02 was originally contained in BceA1 infecting Bacillus spp, the common hosts for these two phages, followed by emergence of SpaA1 infecting S. pasteuri.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040683
PMCID: PMC3398947  PMID: 22815791
2.  Heterologous expression of plant virus genes that suppress post-transcriptional gene silencing results in suppression of RNA interference in Drosophila cells 
BMC Biotechnology  2004;4:18.
Background
RNA interference (RNAi) in animals and post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in plants are related phenomena whose functions include the developmental regulation of gene expression and protection from transposable elements and viruses. Plant viruses respond by expressing suppressor proteins that interfere with the PTGS system.
Results
Here we demonstrate that both transient and constitutive expression of the Tobacco etch virus HC-Pro silencing suppressor protein, which inhibits the maintenance of PTGS in plants, prevents dsRNA-induced RNAi of a lacZ gene in cultured Drosophila cells. Northern blot analysis of the RNA present in Drosophila cells showed that HC-Pro prevented degradation of lacZ RNA during RNAi but that there was accumulation of the short (23nt) RNA species associated with RNAi. A mutant HC-Pro that does not suppress PTGS in plants also does not affect RNAi in Drosophila. Similarly, the Cucumber mosaic virus 2b protein, which inhibits the systemic spread of PTGS in plants, does not suppress RNAi in Drosophila cells. In addition, we have used the Drosophila system to demonstrate that the 16K cysteine-rich protein of Tobacco rattle virus, which previously had no known function, is a silencing suppressor protein.
Conclusion
These results indicate that at least part of the process of RNAi in Drosophila and PTGS in plants is conserved, and that plant virus silencing suppressor proteins may be useful tools to investigate the mechanism of RNAi.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-4-18
PMCID: PMC517504  PMID: 15331016

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