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1.  Morphology and genome sequence of phage ϕ1402 
Bacteriophage  2011;1(3):138-142.
Phages are among the simplest biological entities known and simultaneously the most numerous and ubiquitous members of the biosphere. Among the three families of tailed dsDNA phages, the Myoviridae have the most structurally sophisticated tails which are capable of contraction, unlike the simpler tails of the Podoviridae and Siphoviridae. Such “nanomachines” tails are involved in both efficient phage adsorption and genome injection. Their structural complexity probably necessitates multistep morphogenetic pathways, involving non-structural components, to correctly assemble the structural constituents. For reasons probably related, at least in part, to such morphological intricacy, myoviruses tend to have larger genomes than simpler phages. As a consequence, there are no well-characterized myoviruses with a size of less than 40 kb. Here we report on the characterization and sequencing of the 23,931 bp genome of the dwarf myovirus ϕ1402 of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus. Our genomic analysis shows that ϕ1402 differs substantially from all other known phages and appears to be the smallest known autonomous myovirus.
doi:10.4161/bact.1.3.15769
PMCID: PMC3225778  PMID: 22164347
Bdellovibrio phage; dwarf myovirus; complete genome; terminase; capsomers
2.  Genetic diversity among five T4-like bacteriophages 
Virology Journal  2006;3:30.
Background
Bacteriophages are an important repository of genetic diversity. As one of the major constituents of terrestrial biomass, they exert profound effects on the earth's ecology and microbial evolution by mediating horizontal gene transfer between bacteria and controlling their growth. Only limited genomic sequence data are currently available for phages but even this reveals an overwhelming diversity in their gene sequences and genomes. The contribution of the T4-like phages to this overall phage diversity is difficult to assess, since only a few examples of complete genome sequence exist for these phages. Our analysis of five T4-like genomes represents half of the known T4-like genomes in GenBank.
Results
Here, we have examined in detail the genetic diversity of the genomes of five relatives of bacteriophage T4: the Escherichia coli phages RB43, RB49 and RB69, the Aeromonas salmonicida phage 44RR2.8t (or 44RR) and the Aeromonas hydrophila phage Aeh1. Our data define a core set of conserved genes common to these genomes as well as hundreds of additional open reading frames (ORFs) that are nonconserved. Although some of these ORFs resemble known genes from bacterial hosts or other phages, most show no significant similarity to any known sequence in the databases. The five genomes analyzed here all have similarities in gene regulation to T4. Sequence motifs resembling T4 early and late consensus promoters were observed in all five genomes. In contrast, only two of these genomes, RB69 and 44RR, showed similarities to T4 middle-mode promoter sequences and to the T4 motA gene product required for their recognition. In addition, we observed that each phage differed in the number and assortment of putative genes encoding host-like metabolic enzymes, tRNA species, and homing endonucleases.
Conclusion
Our observations suggest that evolution of the T4-like phages has drawn on a highly diverged pool of genes in the microbial world. The T4-like phages harbour a wealth of genetic material that has not been identified previously. The mechanisms by which these genes may have arisen may differ from those previously proposed for the evolution of other bacteriophage genomes.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-3-30
PMCID: PMC1524935  PMID: 16716236
3.  The Bacillus subtilis Nucleotidyltransferase Is a tRNA CCA-Adding Enzyme 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(23):6276-6282.
There has been increased interest in bacterial polyadenylation with the recent demonstration that 3′ poly(A) tails are involved in RNA degradation. Poly(A) polymerase I (PAP I) of Escherichia coli is a member of the nucleotidyltransferase (Ntr) family that includes the functionally related tRNA CCA-adding enzymes. Thirty members of the Ntr family were detected in a search of the current database of eubacterial genomic sequences. Gram-negative organisms from the β and γ subdivisions of the purple bacteria have two genes encoding putative Ntr proteins, and it was possible to predict their activities as either PAP or CCA adding by sequence comparisons with the E. coli homologues. Prediction of the functions of proteins encoded by the genes from more distantly related bacteria was not reliable. The Bacillus subtilis papS gene encodes a protein that was predicted to have PAP activity. We have overexpressed and characterized this protein, demonstrating that it is a tRNA nucleotidyltransferase. We suggest that the papS gene should be renamed cca, following the notation for its E. coli counterpart. The available evidence indicates that cca is the only gene encoding an Ntr protein, despite previous suggestions that B. subtilis has a PAP similar to E. coli PAP I. Thus, the activity involved in RNA 3′ polyadenylation in the gram-positive bacteria apparently resides in an enzyme distinct from its counterpart in gram-negative bacteria.
PMCID: PMC107713  PMID: 9829937
4.  Ndd, the Bacteriophage T4 Protein That Disrupts the Escherichia coli Nucleoid, Has a DNA Binding Activity 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(19):5227-5230.
Early in a bacteriophage T4 infection, the phage ndd gene causes the rapid destruction of the structure of the Escherichia coli nucleoid. Even at very low levels, the Ndd protein is extremely toxic to cells. In uninfected E. coli, overexpression of the cloned ndd gene induces disruption of the nucleoid that is indistinguishable from that observed after T4 infection. A preliminary characterization of this protein indicates that it has a double-stranded DNA binding activity with a preference for bacterial DNA rather than phage T4 DNA. The targets of Ndd action may be the chromosomal sequences that determine the structure of the nucleoid.
PMCID: PMC107561  PMID: 9748458
5.  Phage Morphology Recapitulates Phylogeny: The Comparative Genomics of a New Group of Myoviruses 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40102.
Among dsDNA tailed bacteriophages (Caudovirales), members of the Myoviridae family have the most sophisticated virion design that includes a complex contractile tail structure. The Myoviridae generally have larger genomes than the other phage families. Relatively few “dwarf” myoviruses, those with a genome size of less than 50 kb such as those of the Mu group, have been analyzed in extenso. Here we report on the genome sequencing and morphological characterization of a new group of such phages that infect a diverse range of Proteobacteria, namely Aeromonas salmonicida phage 56, Vibrio cholerae phages 138 and CP-T1, Bdellovibrio phage φ1422, and Pectobacterium carotovorum phage ZF40. This group of dwarf myoviruses shares an identical virion morphology, characterized by usually short contractile tails, and have genome sizes of approximately 45 kb. Although their genome sequences are variable in their lysogeny, replication, and host adaption modules, presumably reflecting differing lifestyles and hosts, their structural and morphogenesis modules have been evolutionarily constrained by their virion morphology. Comparative genomic analysis reveals that these phages, along with related prophage genomes, form a new coherent group within the Myoviridae. The results presented in this communication support the hypothesis that the diversity of phages may be more structured than generally believed and that the innumerable phages in the biosphere all belong to discrete lineages or families.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040102
PMCID: PMC3391216  PMID: 22792219

Results 1-5 (5)