Comparative genome analysis of Listeria bacteriophages reveals extensive mosaicism, programmed translational frameshifting, and a novel prophage insertion site.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:The genus Listeria is ubiquitous in the environment and includes the globally important food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. While the genomic diversity of Listeria has been well studied, considerably less is known about the genomic and morphological diversity of Listeria bacteriophages. In this study, we sequenced and analyzed the genomes of 14 Listeria phages isolated mostly from New York dairy farm environments as well as one related Enterococcus faecalis phage to obtain information on genome characteristics and diversity. We also examined 12 of the phages by electron microscopy to characterize their morphology. These Listeria phages, based on gene orthology and morphology, together with previously sequenced Listeria phages could be classified into five orthoclusters, including one novel orthocluster. One orthocluster (orthocluster I) consists of large genome (~135-kb) myoviruses belonging to the genus “Twort-like viruses,” three orthoclusters (orthoclusters II to IV) contain small-genome (36- to 43-kb) siphoviruses with icosahedral heads, and the novel orthocluster V contains medium-sized-genome (~66-kb) siphoviruses with elongated heads. A novel orthocluster (orthocluster VI) of E. faecalis phages, with medium-sized genomes (~56 kb), was identified, which grouped together and shares morphological features with the novel Listeria phage orthocluster V. This new group of phages (i.e., orthoclusters V and VI) is composed of putative lytic phages that may prove to be useful in phage-based applications for biocontrol, detection, and therapeutic purposes.
Project description:Virulent phage 1358 is the reference member of a rare group of phages infecting Lactococcus lactis. Electron microscopy revealed a typical icosahedral capsid connected to one of the smallest noncontractile tails found in a lactococcal phage of the Siphoviridae family. Microbiological characterization identified a burst size of 72 virions released per infected host cell and a latent period of 90 min. The host range of phage 1358 was limited to 3 out of the 60 lactococcal strains tested. Moreover, this phage was insensitive to four Abi systems (AbiK, AbiQ, AbiT, and AbiV). The genome of phage 1358 consisted of a linear, double-stranded, 36,892-bp DNA molecule containing 43 open reading frames (ORFs). At least 14 ORFs coded for structural proteins, as identified by SDS-PAGE coupled to liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analyses. The genomic organization was similar to those of other siphophages. All genes were on the same coding strand and in the same orientation. This lactococcal phage was unique, however, in its 51.4% GC content, much higher than those of other phages infecting this low-GC Gram-positive host. A bias for GC-rich codons was also observed. Comparative analyses showed that several phage 1358 structural proteins shared similarity with two Listeria monocytogenes phages, P35 and P40. The possible origin and evolution of lactococcal phage 1358 is discussed.
Project description: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.
Project description: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 (approximately 6 kb) and K (approximately 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.
Project description:Engineered bacteriophages provide powerful tools for biotechnology, diagnostics, pathogen control, and therapy. However, current techniques for phage editing are experimentally challenging and limited to few phages and host organisms. Viruses that target Gram-positive bacteria are particularly difficult to modify. Here, we present a platform technology that enables rapid, accurate, and selection-free construction of synthetic, tailor-made phages that infect Gram-positive bacteria. To this end, custom-designed, synthetic phage genomes were assembled in vitro from smaller DNA fragments. We show that replicating, cell wall-deficient Listeria monocytogenes L-form bacteria can reboot synthetic phage genomes upon transfection, i.e., produce virus particles from naked, synthetic DNA. Surprisingly, Listeria L-form cells not only support rebooting of native and synthetic Listeria phage genomes but also enable cross-genus reactivation of Bacillus and Staphylococcus phages from their DNA, thereby broadening the approach to phages that infect other important Gram-positive pathogens. We then used this platform to generate virulent phages by targeted modification of temperate phage genomes and demonstrated their superior killing efficacy. These synthetic, virulent phages were further armed by incorporation of enzybiotics into their genomes as a genetic payload, which allowed targeting of phage-resistant bystander cells. In conclusion, this straightforward and robust synthetic biology approach redefines the possibilities for the development of improved and completely new phage applications, including phage therapy.
Project description:American Foulbrood Disease, caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, is one of the most destructive diseases of the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Our group recently published the sequences of 9 new phages with the ability to infect and lyse P. larvae. Here, we characterize the genomes of these P. larvae phages, compare them to each other and to other sequenced P. larvae phages, and putatively identify protein function. The phage genomes are 38-45 kb in size and contain 68-86 genes, most of which appear to be unique to P. larvae phages. We classify P. larvae phages into 2 main clusters and one singleton based on nucleotide sequence identity. Three of the new phages show sequence similarity to other sequenced P. larvae phages, while the remaining 6 do not. We identified functions for roughly half of the P. larvae phage proteins, including structural, assembly, host lysis, DNA replication/metabolism, regulatory, and host-related functions. Structural and assembly proteins are highly conserved among our phages and are located at the start of the genome. DNA replication/metabolism, regulatory, and host-related proteins are located in the middle and end of the genome, and are not conserved, with many of these genes found in some of our phages but not others. All nine phages code for a conserved N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase. Comparative analysis showed the phages use the "cohesive ends with 3' overhang" DNA packaging strategy. This work is the first in-depth study of P. larvae phage genomics, and serves as a marker for future work in this area.
Project description:We report here the complete genome sequences of three Listeria phages (PSU-VKH-LP019, PSU-VKH-LP040, and PSU-VKH-LP041), which were newly induced from lysogenic isolates of Listeria monocytogenes from seafood and a seafood processing environment in Thailand. The three phages show circularly permuted double-stranded DNA genomes with sizes of 38.6, 39.6, and 48.3?kb.
Project description:CRISPR-Cas systems provide bacteria with adaptive immunity against invading DNA elements including bacteriophages and plasmids. While CRISPR technology has revolutionized eukaryotic genome engineering, its application to prokaryotes and their viruses remains less well established. Here we report the first functional CRISPR-Cas system from the genus Listeria and demonstrate its native role in phage defense. LivCRISPR-1 is a type II-A system from the genome of L. ivanovii subspecies londoniensis that uses a small, 1078 amino acid Cas9 variant and a unique NNACAC protospacer adjacent motif. We transferred LivCRISPR-1 cas9 and trans-activating crRNA into Listeria monocytogenes. Along with crRNA encoding plasmids, this programmable interference system enables efficient cleavage of bacterial DNA and incoming phage genomes. We used LivCRISPR-1 to develop an effective engineering platform for large, non-integrating Listeria phages based on allelic replacement and CRISPR-Cas-mediated counterselection. The broad host-range Listeria phage A511 was engineered to encode and express lysostaphin, a cell wall hydrolase that specifically targets Staphylococcus peptidoglycan. In bacterial co-culture, the armed phages not only killed Listeria hosts but also lysed Staphylococcus cells by enzymatic collateral damage. Simultaneous killing of unrelated bacteria by a single phage demonstrates the potential of CRISPR-Cas-assisted phage engineering, beyond single pathogen control.
Project description:Until recently, Clostridium difficile phages were limited to Myoviruses and Siphoviruses of medium genome length (32-57 kb). Here we report the finding of phiCD5763, a Siphovirus with a large extrachromosomal circular genome (132.5 kb, 172 ORFs) and a large capsid (205.6 ± 25.6 nm in diameter) infecting MLST Clade 1 strains of C. difficile. Two subgroups of big phage genomes similar to phiCD5763 were identified in 32 NAPCR1/RT012/ST-54 C. difficile isolates from Costa Rica and in whole genome sequences (WGS) of 41 C. difficile isolates of Clades 1, 2, 3, and 4 from Canada, USA, UK, Belgium, Iraq, and China. Through comparative genomics we discovered another putative big phage genome in a non-NAPCR1 isolate from Costa Rica, phiCD2955, which represents other big phage genomes found in 130 WGS of MLST Clade 1 and 2 isolates from Canada, USA, Hungary, France, Austria, and UK. phiCD2955 (131.6 kb, 172 ORFs) is related to a previously reported C. difficile phage genome, phiCD211/phiCDIF1296T. Detailed genome analyses of phiCD5763, phiCD2955, phiCD211/phiCDIF1296T, and seven other putative C. difficile big phage genome sequences of 131-136 kb reconstructed from publicly available WGS revealed a modular gene organization and high levels of sequence heterogeneity at several hotspots, suggesting that these genomes correspond to biological entities undergoing recombination. Compared to other C. difficile phages, these big phages have unique predicted terminase, capsid, portal, neck and tail proteins, receptor binding proteins (RBPs), recombinases, resolvases, primases, helicases, ligases, and hypothetical proteins. Moreover, their predicted gene load suggests a complex regulation of both phage and host functions. Overall, our results indicate that the prevalence of C. difficile big bacteriophages is more widespread than realized and open new avenues of research aiming to decipher how these viral elements influence the biology of this emerging pathogen.
Project description: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 ?1422, 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.