Complete genome sequence of the 936-type lactococcal bacteriophage CaseusJM1.
ABSTRACT: The 936-type lytic bacteriophages are the most frequently encountered species infecting lactococcal dairy starters. Infection by members belonging to this species has a significant negative impact on the cheese production process. Here we report the complete genome sequence of the bacteriophage CaseusJM1, a 936-type phage isolated from an Irish dairy plant.
Project description:Lactococcus lactis is one of the most important bacteria in dairy fermentations, being used in the production of cheese and buttermilk. The processes are vulnerable to phage attacks, and undefined mixtures of lactococcal strains are often used to reduce the risk of bacteriophage caused fermentation failure. Other preventive measures include culture rotation to prevent phage build-up and phage monitoring. Phage diversity, rather than quantity, is the largest threat to fermentations using undefined mixed starter cultures. We have developed a method for culture independent diversity analysis of lytic bacteriophages of the 936 group, the phages most commonly found in dairies. Using, as a target, a highly variable region of the portal protein gene, we demonstrate an unprecedented diversity and the presence of new 936 phages in samples taken from cheese production. The method should be useful to the dairy industry and starter culture manufacturers in their efforts to reduce phage problems.
Project description:Siphoviridae of the lactococcal 936 group are the most commonly encountered bacteriophages in the dairy processing environment. The 936 group phages possess a discrete baseplate at the tip of their tail-a complex harbouring the Receptor Binding Protein (RBP) which is responsible for host recognition and attachment. The baseplate-encoding region is highly conserved amongst 936 phages, with 112 of 115 publicly available phages exhibiting complete synteny. Here, we detail the three exceptions (Phi4.2, Phi4R15L, and Phi4R16L), which differ from this genomic architecture in possessing an apparent second RBP-encoding gene upstream of the "classical" rbp gene. The newly identified RBP possesses an elongated neck region relative to currently defined 936 phage RBPs and is genetically distinct from defined 936 group RBPs. Through detailed characterisation of the representative phage Phi4.2 using a wide range of complementary techniques, we demonstrated that the above-mentioned three phages possess a complex and atypical baseplate structure. Furthermore, the presence of both RBPs in the tail tip of the mature virion was confirmed, while the anticipated host-binding capabilities of both proteins were also verified.
Project description:Genome sequencing and comparative analysis of bacteriophage collections has greatly enhanced our understanding regarding their prevalence, phage-host interactions as well as the overall biodiversity of their genomes. This knowledge is very relevant to phages infecting Lactococcus lactis, since they constitute a significant risk factor for dairy fermentations. Of the eighty four lactococcal phage genomes currently available, fifty five belong to the so-called 936 group, the most prevalent of the ten currently recognized lactococcal phage groups. Here, we report the genetic characteristics of a new collection of 936 group phages. By combining these genomes to those sequenced previously we determined the core and variable elements of the 936 genome. Genomic variation occurs across the 936 phage genome, such as genetic elements that (i) lead to a +1 translational frameshift resulting in the formation of additional structures on the phage tail, (ii) specify a double neck passage structure, and (iii) encode packaging module-associated methylases. Hierarchical clustering of the gene complement of the 936 group phages and nucleotide alignments allowed grouping of the ninety 936 group phages into distinct clusters, which in general appear to correspond with their geographical origin.
Project description: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.
Project description:Comparative genomics of 11 lactococcal 936-type phages combined with host range analysis allowed subgrouping of these phage genomes, particularly with respect to their encoded receptor binding proteins. The so-called pellicle or cell wall polysaccharide of Lactococcus lactis, which has been implicated as a host receptor of (certain) 936-type phages, is specified by a large gene cluster, which, among different lactococcal strains, contains highly conserved regions as well as regions of diversity. The regions of diversity within this cluster on the genomes of lactococcal strains MG1363, SK11, IL1403, KF147, CV56, and UC509.9 were used for the development of a multiplex PCR system to identify the pellicle genotype of lactococcal strains used in this study. The resulting comparative analysis revealed an apparent correlation between the pellicle genotype of a given host strain and the host range of tested 936-type phages. Such a correlation would allow prediction of the intrinsic 936-type phage sensitivity of a particular lactococcal strain and substantiates the notion that the lactococcal pellicle polysaccharide represents the receptor for (certain) 936-type phages while also partially explaining the molecular reasons behind the observed narrow host range of such phages.
Project description:Here, we report the complete genome of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris UC509.9, an Irish dairy starter. The circular chromosome of L. lactis UC509.9 represents the smallest among those of the sequenced lactococcal strains, while its large complement of eight plasmids appears to be a reflection of its adaptation to the dairy environment.
Project description:With the availability of an increasing number of 3D structures of bacteriophage components, combined with powerful in silico predictive tools, it has become possible to decipher the structural assembly and functionality of phage adhesion devices. In the current study, we examined 113 members of the 936 group of lactococcal siphophages, and identified a number of Carbohydrate Binding Modules (CBMs) in the neck passage structure and major tail protein, on top of evolved Dit proteins, as recently reported by us. The binding ability of such CBM-containing proteins was assessed through the construction of green fluorescent protein fusion proteins and subsequent binding assays. Two CBMs, one from the phage tail and another from the neck, demonstrated definite binding to their phage-specific host. Bioinformatic analysis of the structural proteins of 936 phages reveals that they incorporate binding modules which exhibit structural homology to those found in other lactococcal phage groups and beyond, indicating that phages utilize common structural "bricks" to enhance host binding capabilities. The omnipresence of CBMs in Siphophages supports their beneficial role in the infection process, as they can be combined in various ways to form appendages with different shapes and functionalities, ensuring their success in host detection in their respective ecological niches.
Project description:Lactococcal bacteriophages represent one of the leading causes of dairy fermentation failure and product inconsistencies. A new member of the lactococcal 949 phage group, named WRP3, was isolated from cheese whey from a Sicilian factory in 2011. The genome sequence of this phage was determined, and it constitutes the largest lactococcal phage genome currently known, at 130,008 bp. Detailed bioinformatic analysis of the genomic region encoding the presumed initiator complex and baseplate of WRP3 has aided in the functional assignment of several open reading frames (ORFs), particularly that for the receptor binding protein required for host recognition. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the 949 phages target cell wall phospho-polysaccharides as their receptors, accounting for the specificity of the interactions of these phages with their lactococcal hosts. Such information may ultimately aid in the identification of strains/strain blends that do not present the necessary saccharidic target for infection by these problematic phages.
Project description:Simultaneous quantitative detection of Lactococcus (Lc.) lactis and Leuconostoc species bacteriophages (phages) has not been reported in dairies using undefined mixed-strain DL-starters, probably due to the lack of applicable methods. We optimized a high-throughput qPCR system that allows simultaneous quantitative detection of Lc. lactis 936 (now SK1virus), P335, c2 (now C2virus) and Leuconostoc phage groups. Component assays are designed to have high efficiencies and nearly the same dynamic detection ranges, i.e., from ~1.1 x 105 to ~1.1 x 101 phage genomes per reaction, which corresponds to ~9 x 107 to ~9 x 103 phage particles mL-1 without any additional up-concentrating steps. The amplification efficiencies of the corresponding assays were 100.1±2.6, 98.7±2.3, 101.0±2.3 and 96.2±6.2. The qPCR system was tested on samples obtained from a dairy plant that employed traditional mother-bulk-cheese vat system. High levels of 936 and P335 phages were detected in the mother culture and the bulk starter, but also in the whey samples. Low levels of phages were detected in the cheese milk samples.
Project description:The aim of this work was to identify genes responsible for host recognition in the lactococcal phages sk1 and bIL170 belonging to species 936. These phages have a high level of DNA identity but different host ranges. Bioinformatic analysis indicated that homologous genes, orf18 in sk1 and orf20 in bIL170, could be the receptor-binding protein (RBP) genes, since the resulting proteins were unrelated in the C-terminal part and showed homology to different groups of proteins hypothetically involved in host recognition. Consequently, chimeric bIL170 phages carrying orf18 from sk1 were generated. The recombinant phages were able to form plaques on the sk1 host Lactococcus lactis MG1614, and recombination was verified by PCR analysis directly with the plaques. A polyclonal antiserum raised against the C-terminal part of phage sk1 ORF18 was used in immunogold electron microscopy to demonstrate that ORF18 is located at the tip of the tail. Sequence analysis of corresponding proteins from other lactococcal phages belonging to species 936 showed that the N-terminal parts of the RBPs were very similar, while the C-terminal parts varied, suggesting that the C-terminal part plays a role in receptor binding. The phages investigated could be grouped into sk1-like phages (p2, fd13, jj50, and phi 7) and bIL170-like phages (P008, P113G, P272, and bIL66) on the basis of the homology of their RBPs to the C-terminal part of ORF18 in sk1 and ORF20 in bIL170, respectively. Interestingly, sk1-like phages bind to and infect a defined group of L. lactis subsp. cremoris strains, while bIL170-like phages bind to and infect a defined group of L. lactis subsp. lactis strains.