Comparative genomics and transduction potential of Enterococcus faecalis temperate bacteriophages.
ABSTRACT: To determine the relative importance of temperate bacteriophage in the horizontal gene transfer of fitness and virulence determinants of Enterococcus faecalis, a panel of 47 bacteremia isolates were treated with the inducing agents mitomycin C, norfloxacin, and UV radiation. Thirty-four phages were purified from culture supernatants and discriminated using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and restriction mapping. From these analyses the genomes of eight representative phages were pyrosequenced, revealing four distinct groups of phages. Three groups of phages, PhiFL1 to 3, were found to be sequence related, with PhiFL1A to C and PhiFL2A and B sharing the greatest identity (87 to 88%), while PhiFL3A and B share 37 to 41% identity with PhiFL1 and 2. PhiFL4A shares 3 to 12% identity with the phages PhiFL1 to 3. The PhiFL3A and B phages possess a high DNA sequence identity with the morphogenesis and lysis modules of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris prophages. Homologs of the Streptococcus mitis platelet binding phage tail proteins, PblA and PblB, are encoded on each sequenced E. faecalis phage. Few other phage genes encoding potential virulence functions were identified, and there was little evidence of carriage of lysogenic conversion genes distal to endolysin, as has been observed with genomes of many temperate phages from the opportunist pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. E. faecalis JH2-2 lysogens were generated using the eight phages, and these were examined for their relative fitness in Galleria mellonella. Several lysogens exhibited different effects upon survival of G. mellonella compared to their isogenic parent. The eight phages were tested for their ability to package host DNA, and three were shown to be very effective for generalized transduction of naive host cells of the laboratory strains OG1RF and JH2-2.
Project description:The binding of platelets by bacteria is a proposed central mechanism in the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis. Platelet binding by Streptococcus mitis strain SF100 (an endocarditis isolate) was recently shown to be mediated in part by the surface proteins PblA and PblB. The genes encoding PblA and PblB are clustered with genes nearly identical to those of streptococcal phages r1t, 01205, and Dp-1, suggesting that pblA and pblB might reside within a prophage. To address this possibility, cultures of SF100 were exposed to either mitomycin C or UV light, both of which are known to induce the lytic cycle of many temperate phages. Both treatments caused a significant increase in the transcription of pblA. Treatment with mitomycin C or UV light also caused a substantial increase in the expression of PblA and PblB, as detected by Western blot analysis of proteins in the SF100 cell wall. By electron microscopy, phage particles were readily visible in the supernatants from induced cultures of SF100. The phage, designated SM1, had a double-stranded DNA genome of approximately 35 kb. Southern blot analysis of phage DNA indicated that pblA and pblB were contained within the SM1 genome. Furthermore, Western blot analysis of phage proteins revealed that both PblA and PblB were present in the phage particles. These findings indicate that PblA and PblB are encoded by a lysogenic bacteriophage, which could facilitate the dissemination of these potential virulence determinants to other bacterial pathogens.
Project description:Temperate phages are bacterial viruses that as part of their life cycle reside in the bacterial genome as prophages. They are found in many species including most clinical strains of the human pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Previously, temperate phages were considered as only bacterial predators, but mounting evidence point to both antagonistic and mutualistic interactions with for example some temperate phages contributing to virulence by encoding virulence factors. Here we show that generalized transduction, one type of bacterial DNA transfer by phages, can create conditions where not only the recipient host but also the transducing phage benefit. With antibiotic resistance as a model trait we used individual-based models and experimental approaches to show that antibiotic susceptible cells become resistant to both antibiotics and phage by i) integrating the generalized transducing temperate phages and ii) acquiring transducing phage particles carrying antibiotic resistance genes obtained from resistant cells in the environment. This is not observed for non-generalized transducing temperate phages, which are unable to package bacterial DNA, nor for generalized transducing virulent phages that do not form lysogens. Once established, the lysogenic host and the prophage benefit from the existence of transducing particles that can shuffle bacterial genes between lysogens and for example disseminate resistance to antibiotics, a trait not encoded by the phage. This facilitates bacterial survival and leads to phage population growth. We propose that generalized transduction can function as a mutualistic trait where temperate phages cooperate with their hosts to survive in rapidly-changing environments. This implies that generalized transduction is not just an error in DNA packaging but is selected for by phages to ensure their survival.
Project description:We report the complete genome sequence of two Pseudomonas aeruginosa phages MP29 and MP42. Their genomes are similar to those of P. aeruginosa temperate phages DMS3 and MP22, whose lysogens are impaired in swarming motilities, involving the host CRISPR loci. Both MP29 and MP42 lysogens, however, were proficient in swarming, suggesting the absence of the phage-host CRISPR interaction.
Project description:Bacteriophages are central members and potential modulators of the gut microbiome; however, the ecological and evolutionary relationships of gut bacteria and phages are poorly understood. Here we investigated the abundance and diversity of lysogenic bacteria (lysogens) in the bacterial community of C57BL/6J mice by detecting integrated prophages in genomes reconstructed from the metagenome of commensal bacteria. For the activities of lysogens and prophages, we compared the prophage genomes with the metagenome of free phages. The majority of commensal bacteria in different taxa were identified as lysogens. More lysogens were found among Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, than among Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria. The prophage genomes shared high sequence similarity with the metagenome of free phages, indicating that most lysogens appeared to be active, and that prophages are spontaneously induced as active phages; dietary interventions changed the composition of the induced prophages. By contrast, CRISPR-Cas systems were present in few commensal bacteria, and were rarely active against gut phages. The structure of the bacteria-phage infection networks was "nested-modular", with modularity emerging across taxonomic scales, indicating that temperate phage features have developed over a long phylogenetic timescale. We concluded that phage generalists contribute to the prevalence of lysogeny in the gut ecosystem.
Project description:Temperate bacteriophages are a common feature of <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> genomes, but their role in chronic lung infections is poorly understood. This study was designed to identify the diverse communities of mobile <i>P. aeruginosa</i> phages by employing novel metagenomic methods, to determine cross infectivity, and to demonstrate the influence of phage infection on antimicrobial susceptibility. Mixed temperate phage populations were chemically mobilized from individual <i>P. aeruginosa</i>, isolated from patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or bronchiectasis (BR). The infectivity phenotype of each temperate phage lysate was evaluated by performing a cross-infection screen against all bacterial isolates and tested for associations with clinical variables. We utilized metagenomic sequencing data generated for each phage lysate and developed a novel bioinformatic approach allowing resolution of individual temperate phage genomes. Finally, we used a subset of the temperate phages to infect <i>P. aeruginosa</i> PAO1 and tested the resulting lysogens for their susceptibility to antibiotics. Here, we resolved 105 temperate phage genomes from 94 lysates that phylogenetically clustered into 8 groups. We observed disease-specific phage infectivity profiles and found that phages induced from bacteria isolated from more advanced disease infected broader ranges of <i>P. aeruginosa</i> isolates. Importantly, when infecting PAO1 <i>in vitro</i> with 20 different phages, 8 influenced antimicrobial susceptibility. This study shows that <i>P. aeruginosa</i> isolated from CF and BR patients harbors diverse communities of inducible phages, with hierarchical infectivity profiles that relate to the progression of the disease. Temperate phage infection altered the antimicrobial susceptibility of PAO1 at subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics, suggesting they may be precursory to antimicrobial resistance.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> is a key opportunistic respiratory pathogen in patients with cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. The genomes of these pathogens are enriched with mobile genetic elements including diverse temperate phages. While the temperate phages of the Liverpool epidemic strain have been shown to be active in the human lung and enhance fitness in a rat lung infection model, little is known about their mobilization more broadly across <i>P. aeruginosa</i> in chronic respiratory infection. Using a novel metagenomic approach, we identified eight groups of temperate phages that were mobilized from 94 clinical <i>P. aeruginosa</i> isolates. Temperate phages from <i>P. aeruginosa</i> isolated from more advanced disease showed high infectivity rates across a wide range of <i>P. aeruginosa</i> genotypes. Furthermore, we showed that multiple phages altered the susceptibility of PAO1 to antibiotics at subinhibitory concentrations.
Project description:Ef11 is a temperate bacteriophage originally isolated by induction from a lysogenic Enterococcus faecalis strain recovered from an infected root canal, and the Ef11 prophage is widely disseminated among strains of E. faecalis. Because E. faecalis has emerged as a significant opportunistic human pathogen, we were interested in examining the genes and regulatory sequences predicted to be critical in the establishment/maintenance of lysogeny by Ef11 as a first step in the construction of the genome of a virulent, highly lytic phage that could be used in treating serious E. faecalis infections. Passage of Ef11 in E. faecalis JH2-2 yielded a variant that produced large, extensively spreading plaques in lawns of indicator cells, and elevated phage titres in broth cultures. Genetic analysis of the cloned virus producing the large plaques revealed that the variant was a recombinant between Ef11 and a defective FL1C-like prophage located in the E. faecalis JH2-2 chromosome. The recombinant possessed five ORFs of the defective FL1C-like prophage in place of six ORFs of the Ef11 genome. Deletion of the putative lysogeny gene module (ORFs 31-36) and replacement of the putative cro promoter from the recombinant phage genome with a nisin-inducible promoter resulted in no loss of virus infectivity. The genetic construct incorporating all the aforementioned Ef11 genomic modifications resulted in the generation of a variant that was incapable of lysogeny and insensitive to repressor, rendering it virulent and highly lytic, with a notably extended host range.
Project description:Within-host competition between parasites is frequently invoked as a major force for parasite evolution, yet quantitative studies on its extent in an organismal group are lacking. Temperate bacteriophages are diverse and abundant parasites of bacteria, distinguished by their ability to enter a facultative dormant state in their host. Bacteria can accumulate multiple phages that may eventually abandon dormancy in response to host stress. Host resources are then converted into phage particles, whose release requires cell death. To study within-host competition between phages, I used the bacterium Escherichia coli and 11 lambdoid phages to construct single and double lysogens. Lysogenic bacterial cultures were then induced and time to host cell lysis and productivity of phages was measured. In double lysogens, this revealed strong competitive interactions as in all cases productivity of at least one phage declined. The outcome of within-host competition was often asymmetrical, and phages were found to vary hierarchically in within-host competitive ability. In double infections, the phage with the shorter lysis time determined the timing of cell lysis, which was associated with a competitive advantage when time differences were large. The results emphasize that within-host competition greatly affects phage fitness and that multiple infections should be considered an integral part of bacteriophage ecology.
Project description:In this study, we describe seven vegetative phage genomes homologous to the historic phage B3 that infect <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> Like other phage groups, the B3-like group contains conserved (core) and variable (accessory) open reading frames (ORFs) grouped at fixed regions in their genomes; however, in either case, many ORFs remain without assigned functions. We constructed lysogens of the seven B3-like phages in strain Ps33 of <i>P. aeruginosa</i>, a novel clinical isolate, and assayed the exclusion phenotype against a variety of temperate and virulent superinfecting phages. In addition to the classic exclusion conferred by the phage immunity repressor, the phenotype observed in B3-like lysogens suggested the presence of other exclusion genes. We set out to identify the genes responsible for this exclusion phenotype. Phage Ps56 was chosen as the study subject since it excluded numerous temperate and virulent phages. Restriction of the Ps56 genome, cloning of several fragments, and resection of the fragments that retained the exclusion phenotype allowed us to identify two core ORFs, so far without any assigned function, as responsible for a type of exclusion. Neither gene expressed separately from plasmids showed activity, but the concurrent expression of both ORFs is needed for exclusion. Our data suggest that phage adsorption occurs but that phage genome translocation to the host's cytoplasm is defective. To our knowledge, this is the first report on this type of exclusion mediated by a prophage in <i>P. aeruginosa</i> <b>IMPORTANCE</b> <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> is a Gram-negative bacterium frequently isolated from infected immunocompromised patients, and the strains are resistant to a broad spectrum of antibiotics. Recently, the use of phages has been proposed as an alternative therapy against multidrug-resistant bacteria. However, this approach may present various hurdles. This work addresses the problem that pathogenic bacteria may be lysogenized by phages carrying genes encoding resistance against secondary infections, such as those used in phage therapy. Discovering phage genes that exclude superinfecting phages not only assigns novel functions to orphan genes in databases but also provides insight into selection of the proper phages for use in phage therapy.
Project description:Temperate phages play important roles in bacterial communities but have been largely overlooked, particularly in non-pathogenic bacteria. In rhizobia the presence of temperate phages has the potential to have significant ecological impacts but few examples have been described. Here we characterize a novel group of 5 <i>Rhizobium leguminosarum</i> prophages, capable of sustaining infections across a broad host range within their host genus. Genome comparisons identified further putative prophages infecting multiple <i>Rhizobium</i> species isolated globally, revealing a wider family of 10 temperate phages including one previously described lytic phage, RHEph01, which appears to have lost the ability to form lysogens. Phylogenetic discordance between prophage and host phylogenies suggests a history of active mobilization between <i>Rhizobium</i> lineages. Genome comparisons revealed conservation of gene content and order, with the notable exception of an approximately 5 kb region of hypervariability, containing almost exclusively hypothetical genes. Additionally, several horizontally acquired genes are present across the group, including a putative antirepressor present only in the RHEph01 genome, which may explain its apparent inability to form lysogens. In summary, both phenotypic and genomic comparisons between members of this group of phages reveals a clade of viruses with a long history of mobilization within and between <i>Rhizobium</i> species.
Project description:Bacteriophages exhibit a vast spectrum of relatedness and there is increasing evidence of close genomic relationships independent of host genus. The variability in phage similarity at the nucleotide, amino acid, and gene content levels confounds attempts at quantifying phage relatedness, especially as more novel phages are isolated. This study describes three highly similar novel Arthrobacter globiformis phages-Powerpuff, Lego, and YesChef-which were assigned to Cluster AZ using a nucleotide-based clustering parameter. Phages in Cluster AZ, Microbacterium Cluster EH, and the former Microbacterium singleton Zeta1847 exhibited low nucleotide similarity. However, their gene content similarity was in excess of the recently adopted Microbacterium clustering parameter, which ultimately resulted in the reassignment of Zeta1847 to Cluster EH. This finding further highlights the importance of using multiple metrics to capture phage relatedness. Additionally, Clusters AZ and EH phages encode a shared integrase indicative of a lysogenic life cycle. In the first experimental verification of a Cluster AZ phage's life cycle, we show that phage Powerpuff is a true temperate phage. It forms stable lysogens that exhibit immunity to superinfection by related phages, despite lacking identifiable repressors typically required for lysogenic maintenance and superinfection immunity. The ability of phage Powerpuff to undergo and maintain lysogeny suggests that other closely related phages may be temperate as well. Our findings provide additional evidence of significant shared phage genomic content spanning multiple actinobacterial host genera and demonstrate the continued need for verification and characterization of life cycles in newly isolated phages.