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1.  Novel Giant Siphovirus from Bacillus anthracis Features Unusual Genome Characteristics 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85972.
Here we present vB_BanS-Tsamsa, a novel temperate phage isolated from Bacillus anthracis, the agent responsible for anthrax infections in wildlife, livestock and humans. Tsamsa phage is a giant siphovirus (order Caudovirales), featuring a long, flexible and non-contractile tail of 440 nm (not including baseplate structure) and an isometric head of 82 nm in diameter. We induced Tsamsa phage in samples from two different carcass sites in Etosha National Park, Namibia. The Tsamsa phage genome is the largest sequenced Bacillus siphovirus, containing 168,876 bp and 272 ORFs. The genome features an integrase/recombinase enzyme, indicative of a temperate lifestyle. Among bacterial strains tested, the phage infected only certain members of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group (B. anthracis, B. cereus and B. thuringiensis) and exhibited moderate specificity for B. anthracis. Tsamsa lysed seven out of 25 B. cereus strains, two out of five B. thuringiensis strains and six out of seven B. anthracis strains tested. It did not lyse B. anthracis PAK-1, an atypical strain that is also resistant to both gamma phage and cherry phage. The Tsamsa endolysin features a broader lytic spectrum than the phage host range, indicating possible use of the enzyme in Bacillus biocontrol.
PMCID: PMC3903500  PMID: 24475065
2.  Inducible Clostridium perfringens bacteriophages ΦS9 and ΦS63 
Bacteriophage  2012;2(2):89-97.
Two inducible temperate bacteriophages ΦS9 and ΦS63 from Clostridium perfringens were sequenced and analyzed. Isometric heads and long non-contractile tails classify ΦS9 and ΦS63 in the Siphoviridae family, and their genomes consist of 39,457 bp (ΦS9) and 33,609 bp (ΦS63) linear dsDNA, respectively. ΦS63 has 3′-overlapping cohesive genome ends, whereas ΦS9 is the first Clostridium phage featuring an experimentally proven terminally redundant and circularly permuted genome. A total of 50 and 43 coding sequences were predicted for ΦS9 and ΦS63, respectively, organized into 6 distinct lifestyle-associated modules typical for temperate Siphoviruses. Putative functions could be assigned to 26 gene products of ΦS9, and to 25 of ΦS63. The ΦS9 attB attachment and insertion site is located in a non-coding region upstream of a putative phosphorylase gene. Interestingly, ΦS63 integrates into the 3′ part of sigK in C. perfringens, and represents the first functional skin-element-like phage described for this genus. With respect to possible effects of lysogeny, we did not obtain evidence that ΦS9 may influence sporulation of a lysogenized host. In contrast, interruption of sigK, a sporulation associated gene in various bacteria, by the ΦS63 prophage insertion is more likely to affect sporulation of its carrier.
PMCID: PMC3442830  PMID: 23050219
Clostridium perfringens; prophage; attachment site; sporulation; skin-element
3.  Rapid Multiplex Detection and Differentiation of Listeria Cells by Use of Fluorescent Phage Endolysin Cell Wall Binding Domains▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(17):5745-5756.
The genus Listeria comprises food-borne pathogens associated with severe infections and a high mortality rate. Endolysins from bacteriophages infecting Listeria are promising tools for both their detection and control. These proteins feature a modular organization, consisting of an N-terminal enzymatically active domain (EAD), which contributes lytic activity, and a C-terminal cell wall binding domain (CBD), which targets the lysin to its substrate. Sequence comparison among 12 different endolysins revealed high diversity among the enzyme's functional domains and allowed classification of their CBDs into two major groups and five subclasses. This diversity is reflected in various binding properties, as determined by cell wall binding assays using CBDs fused to fluorescent marker proteins. Although some proteins exhibited a broad binding range and recognize Listeria strains representing all serovars, others target specific serovars only. The CBDs also differed with respect to the number and distribution of ligands recognized on the cells, as well as their binding affinities. Surface plasmon resonance analysis revealed equilibrium affinities in the pico- to nanomolar ranges for all proteins except CBD006, which is due to an internal truncation. Rapid multiplexed detection and differentiation of Listeria strains in mixed bacterial cultures was possible by combining CBDs of different binding specificities with fluorescent markers of various colors. In addition, cells of different Listeria strains could be recovered from artificially contaminated milk or cheese by CBD-based magnetic separation by using broad-range CBDP40 and subsequently identified after incubation with two differently colored CBD fusion proteins of higher specificity.
PMCID: PMC2935047  PMID: 20622130

Results 1-3 (3)