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1.  Complete Genome Sequence of Listeria monocytogenes Lm60, a Strain with an Enhanced Cold Adaptation Capacity 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(6):e01248-14.
The complete genome sequence of Listeria monocytogenes Lm60, a fast cold-adapting serotype 1/2a human isolate, is presented.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.01248-14
PMCID: PMC4256188  PMID: 25477407
2.  Methyltransferases acquired by lactococcal 936-type phage provide protection against restriction endonuclease activity 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):831.
Background
So-called 936-type phages are among the most frequently isolated phages in dairy facilities utilising Lactococcus lactis starter cultures. Despite extensive efforts to control phage proliferation and decades of research, these phages continue to negatively impact cheese production in terms of the final product quality and consequently, monetary return.
Results
Whole genome sequencing and in silico analysis of three 936-type phage genomes identified several putative (orphan) methyltransferase (MTase)-encoding genes located within the packaging and replication regions of the genome. Utilising SMRT sequencing, methylome analysis was performed on all three phages, allowing the identification of adenine modifications consistent with N-6 methyladenine sequence methylation, which in some cases could be attributed to these phage-encoded MTases. Heterologous gene expression revealed that M.Phi145I/M.Phi93I and M.Phi93DAM, encoded by genes located within the packaging module, provide protection against the restriction enzymes HphI and DpnII, respectively, representing the first functional MTases identified in members of 936-type phages.
Conclusions
SMRT sequencing technology enabled the identification of the target motifs of MTases encoded by the genomes of three lytic 936-type phages and these MTases represent the first functional MTases identified in this species of phage. The presence of these MTase-encoding genes on 936-type phage genomes is assumed to represent an adaptive response to circumvent host encoded restriction-modification systems thereby increasing the fitness of the phages in a dynamic dairy environment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-831) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-831
PMCID: PMC4190342  PMID: 25269955
Lactococcus lactis; Bacteriophage; Methylome; Restriction-modification; SMRT sequencing
3.  Vertical transmission of highly similar blaCTX-M-1-harboring IncI1 plasmids in Escherichia coli with different MLST types in the poultry production pyramid 
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to characterize sets of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae collected longitudinally from different flocks of broiler breeders, meconium of 1-day-old broilers from theses breeder flocks, as well as from these broiler flocks before slaughter.
Methods: Five sets of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli were studied by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), phylogenetic grouping, PCR-based replicon typing and resistance profiling. The blaCTX-M-1-harboring plasmids of one set (pHV295.1, pHV114.1, and pHV292.1) were fully sequenced and subjected to comparative analysis.
Results: Eleven different MLST sequence types (ST) were identified with ST1056 the predominant one, isolated in all five sets either on the broiler breeder or meconium level. Plasmid sequencing revealed that blaCTX-M-1 was carried by highly similar IncI1/ST3 plasmids that were 105 076 bp, 110 997 bp, and 117 269 bp in size, respectively.
Conclusions: The fact that genetically similar IncI1/ST3 plasmids were found in ESBL-producing E. coli of different MLST types isolated at the different levels in the broiler production pyramid provides strong evidence for a vertical transmission of these plasmids from a common source (nucleus poultry flocks).
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00519
PMCID: PMC4179741  PMID: 25324838
E. coli; plasmid sequencing; CTX-M-1; poultry production pyramid; IncI1; conjugation
4.  Genome Sequences of Three Frequently Used Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria ivanovii Strains 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(2):e00404-14.
We present the complete de novo assembled genome sequences of Listeria monocytogenes strains WSLC 1001 (ATCC 19112) and WSLC 1042 (ATCC 23074) and Listeria ivanovii WSLC 3009, three strains frequently used for the propagation and study of bacteriophages because they are presumed to be free of inducible prophages.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00404-14
PMCID: PMC4007992  PMID: 24786957
5.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085972
PMCID: PMC3903500  PMID: 24475065
6.  Genome Sequence of Salmonella bongori Strain N268-08 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(6):e01018-13.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.01018-13
PMCID: PMC3861422  PMID: 24336369
7.  Listeria phages 
Bacteriophage  2013;3(3):e26861.
Listeria is an important foodborne pathogen and the causative agent of Listeriosis, a potentially fatal infection. Several hundred Listeria bacteriophages have been described over the past decades, but only few have actually been characterized in some detail, and genome sequences are available for less than twenty of them. We here present an overview of what is currently known about Listeria phage genomics, their role in host evolution and pathogenicity, and their various applications in biotechnology and diagnostics.
doi:10.4161/bact.26861
PMCID: PMC3827098  PMID: 24251077
CRISPR; Mosaic genomes; biocontrol; comK; endolysin; homologous recombination; pathogen detection; reporter phage
8.  Genome Sequence of Salmonella bongori Strain N268-08, a Rare Clinical Isolate 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(4):e00580-13.
Salmonella bongori is a close relative of the highly virulent members of S. enterica subspecies enterica, encompassing more than 2,500 serovars, most of which cause human salmonellosis, one of the leading food-borne illnesses. S. bongori is only very rarely implicated in infections. We here present the sequence of a clinical isolate from Switzerland, S. bongori strain N268-08.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00580-13
PMCID: PMC3751601  PMID: 23969046
9.  Bacteriophage P70: Unique Morphology and Unrelatedness to Other Listeria Bacteriophages 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(23):13099-13102.
Listeria monocytogenes is an important food-borne pathogen, and its bacteriophages find many uses in detection and biocontrol of its host. The novel broad-host-range virulent phage P70 has a unique morphology with an elongated capsid. Its genome sequence was determined by a hybrid sequencing strategy employing Sanger and PacBio techniques. The P70 genome contains 67,170 bp and 119 open reading frames (ORFs). Our analyses suggest that P70 represents an archetype of virus unrelated to other known Listeria bacteriophages.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02350-12
PMCID: PMC3497695  PMID: 22993158
10.  Whole genome sequencing and comparative genomic analyses of two Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal-specific Podoviruses to other N4-like phages reveal extensive genetic diversity 
Virology Journal  2013;10:165.
Background
Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal is the only serogroup other than O1 implicated in cholera epidemics. We describe the isolation and characterization of an O139 serogroup-specific phage, vB_VchP_VchO139-I (ϕVchO139-I) that has similar host range and virion morphology as phage vB_VchP_JA1 (ϕJA1) described previously. We aimed at a complete molecular characterization of both phages and elucidation of their genetic and structural differences and assessment of their genetic relatedness to the N4-like phage group.
Methods
Host-range analysis and plaque morphology screening were done for both ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I. Both phage genomes were sequenced by a 454 and Sanger hybrid approach. Genomes were annotated and protein homologies were determined by Blast and HHPred. Restriction profiles, PFGE patterns and data on the physical genome structure were acquired and phylogenetic analyses were performed.
Results
The host specificity of ϕJA1 has been attributed to the unique capsular O-antigen produced by O139 strains. Plaque morphologies of the two phages were different; ϕVchO139-I produced a larger halo around the plaques than ϕJA1. Restriction profiles of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I genomes were also different. The genomes of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I consisted of linear double-stranded DNA of 71,252 and 70,938 base pairs. The presence of direct terminal repeats of around 1974 base pairs was demonstrated. Whole genome comparison revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms, small insertions/deletions and differences in gene content. Both genomes had 79 predicted protein encoding sequences, of which only 59 were identical between the two closely related phages. They also encoded one tRNA-Arg gene, an intein within the large terminase gene, and four homing endonuclease genes. Whole genome phylogenetic analyses of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I against other sequenced N4-like phages delineate three novel subgroups or clades within this phage family.
Conclusions
The closely related phages feature significant genetic differences, in spite of being morphologically identical. The phage morphology, genetic organization, genomic content and large terminase protein based phylogeny support the placement of these two phages in the Podoviridae family, more specifically within the N4-like phage group. The physical genome structure of ϕJA1 could be demonstrated experimentally. Our data pave the way for potential use of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I in Vibrio cholerae typing and control.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-165
PMCID: PMC3670811  PMID: 23714204
Vibrio cholerae O139; N4-like virus; Genome comparison; Terminal repeats; Intein; Phylogenetic relationship
11.  Next generation sequencing technologies and the changing landscape of phage genomics 
Bacteriophage  2012;2(3):190-199.
The dawn of next generation sequencing technologies has opened up exciting possibilities for whole genome sequencing of a plethora of organisms. The 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing technologies, based on cloning-free, massively parallel sequencing, have enabled the generation of a deluge of genomic sequences of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic origin in the last seven years. However, whole genome sequencing of bacterial viruses has not kept pace with this revolution, despite the fact that their genomes are orders of magnitude smaller in size compared with bacteria and other organisms. Sequencing phage genomes poses several challenges; (1) obtaining pure phage genomic material, (2) PCR amplification biases and (3) complex nature of their genetic material due to features such as methylated bases and repeats that are inherently difficult to sequence and assemble. Here we describe conclusions drawn from our efforts in sequencing hundreds of bacteriophage genomes from a variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria using Sanger, 454, Illumina and PacBio technologies. Based on our experience we propose several general considerations regarding sample quality, the choice of technology and a “blended approach” for generating reliable whole genome sequences of phages.
doi:10.4161/bact.22111
PMCID: PMC3530529  PMID: 23275870
bacteriophage genome; Illumina HiSeq; Roche 454; PacBio; Sanger sequencing; Hybrid genome assembly; SISPA; Scaffolding
12.  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.
doi:10.4161/bact.21363
PMCID: PMC3442830  PMID: 23050219
Clostridium perfringens; prophage; attachment site; sporulation; skin-element
13.  Genome Sequence of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A, a Clinical Isolate from a Food-Borne Listeriosis Outbreak▿ 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(16):4284-4285.
Listeria monocytogenes is an opportunistic food-borne pathogen and the causative agent of listeriosis in animals and humans. We present the genome sequence of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A, a widely distributed and frequently used serovar 4b clinical isolate from the 1983 listeriosis outbreak in Massachusetts.
doi:10.1128/JB.05328-11
PMCID: PMC3147710  PMID: 21685277
14.  Brochothrix thermosphacta Bacteriophages Feature Heterogeneous and Highly Mosaic Genomes and Utilize Unique Prophage Insertion Sites ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(20):5441-5453.
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.
doi:10.1128/JB.00709-10
PMCID: PMC2950505  PMID: 20709901
15.  Comparative Genome Analysis of Listeria Bacteriophages Reveals Extensive Mosaicism, Programmed Translational Frameshifting, and a Novel Prophage Insertion Site▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(23):7206-7215.
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.
doi:10.1128/JB.01041-09
PMCID: PMC2786548  PMID: 19783628
16.  Complete Nucleotide Sequence and Molecular Characterization of Bacillus Phage TP21 and its Relatedness to Other Phages with the Same Name 
Viruses  2010;2(4):961-971.
Three different Bacillus bacteriophages designated TP21 are known from the literature. We have determined the sequence and structure of the TP21-L genome, and compared it to the other phages. The genome is 37.5 kb in size, possesses fixed invariable genome ends and features the typical modular organization of a temperate siphovirus. TP21-L is neither identical to TP21 isolated by Thorne (TP21-T), as shown by a PCR-based approach nor to TP21 isolated by He et al. (TP21-H), as estimated from phage dimensions. For reasons of clarity, we suggest renaming the different TP21 isolates.
doi:10.3390/v2040961
PMCID: PMC3185655  PMID: 21994663
TP21; Bacillus; bacteriophage
17.  Role of Cold Shock Proteins in Growth of Listeria monocytogenes under Cold and Osmotic Stress Conditions▿  
The gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen of both public health and food safety significance. It possesses three small, highly homologous protein members of the cold shock protein (Csp) family. We used gene expression analysis and a set of mutants with single, double, and triple deletions of the csp genes to evaluate the roles of CspA, CspB, and CspD in the cold and osmotic (NaCl) stress adaptation responses of L. monocytogenes. All three Csps are dispensable for growth at optimal temperature (37°C). These proteins are, however, required for efficient cold and osmotic stress tolerance of this bacterium. The hierarchies of their functional importance differ, depending on the environmental stress conditions: CspA>CspD>CspB in response to cold stress versus CspD>CspA/CspB in response to NaCl salt osmotic stress. The fact that Csps are promoting L. monocytogenes adaptation against both cold and NaCl stress has significant implications in view of practical food microbial control measures. The combined or sequential exposure of L. monocytogenes cells to these two stresses in food environments might inadvertently induce cross-protection responses.
doi:10.1128/AEM.02154-08
PMCID: PMC2655451  PMID: 19151183
18.  The Terminally Redundant, Nonpermuted Genome of Listeria Bacteriophage A511: a Model for the SPO1-Like Myoviruses of Gram-Positive Bacteria▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(17):5753-5765.
Only little information on a particular class of myoviruses, the SPO1-like bacteriophages infecting low-G+C-content, gram-positive host bacteria (Firmicutes), is available. We present the genome analysis and molecular characterization of the large, virulent, broad-host-range Listeria phage A511. A511 contains a unit (informational) genome of 134,494 bp, encompassing 190 putative open reading frames (ORFs) and 16 tRNA genes, organized in a modular fashion common among the Caudovirales. Electron microscopy, enzymatic fragmentation analyses, and sequencing revealed that the A511 DNA molecule contains linear terminal repeats of a total of 3,125 bp, encompassing nine small putative ORFs. This particular genome structure explains why A511 is unable to perform general transduction. A511 features significant sequence homologies to Listeria phage P100 and other morphologically related phages infecting Firmicutes such as Staphylococcus phage K and Lactobacillus phage LP65. Equivalent but more-extensive terminal repeats also exist in phages P100 (∼6 kb) and K (∼20 kb). High-resolution electron microscopy revealed, for the first time, the presence of long tail fibers organized in a sixfold symmetry in these viruses. Mass spectrometry-based peptide fingerprinting permitted assignment of individual proteins to A511 structural components. On the basis of the data available for A511 and relatives, we propose that SPO1-like myoviruses are characterized by (i) their infection of gram-positive, low-G+C-content bacteria; (ii) a wide host range within the host bacterial genus and a strictly virulent lifestyle; (iii) similar morphology, sequence relatedness, and collinearity of the phage genome organization; and (iv) large double-stranded DNA genomes featuring nonpermuted terminal repeats of various sizes.
doi:10.1128/JB.00461-08
PMCID: PMC2519532  PMID: 18567664
19.  PEGylation of bacteriophages increases blood circulation time and reduces T‐helper type 1 immune response 
Microbial biotechnology  2008;1(3):247-257.
Summary
The increasing occurrence of antibiotic‐resistant pathogens is of growing concern, and must be counteracted by alternative antimicrobial treatments. Bacteriophages represent the natural enemies of bacteria. However, the strong immune response following application of phages and rapid clearance from the blood stream are hurdles which need to be overcome. Towards our goal to render phages less immunogenic and prolong blood circulation time, we have chemically modified intact bacteriophages by conjugation of the non‐immunogenic polymer monomethoxy‐polyethylene glycol (mPEG) to virus proteins. As a proof of concept, we have used two different polyvalent and strictly virulent phages of the Myoviridae, representing typical candidates for therapeutical approaches: Felix‐O1 (infects Salmonella) and A511 (infects Listeria). Loss of phage infectivity after PEGylation was found to be proportional to the degree of modification, and could be conveniently controlled by adjusting the PEG concentration. When injected into naïve mice, PEGylated phages showed a strong increase in circulation half‐life, whereas challenge of immunized mice did not reveal a significant difference. Our results suggest that the prolonged half‐life is due to decreased susceptibility to innate immunity as well as avoidance of cellular defence mechanisms. PEGylated viruses elicited significantly reduced levels of T‐helper type 1‐associated cytokine release (IFN‐γ and IL‐6), in both naïve and immunized mice. This is the first study demonstrating that PEGylation can increases survival of infective phage by delaying immune responses, and indicates that this approach can increase efficacy of bacteriophage therapy.
doi:10.1111/j.1751-7915.2008.00028.x
PMCID: PMC3815886  PMID: 21261844

Results 1-19 (19)