Absence of lysogeny in wild populations of Erwinia amylovora and Pantoea agglomerans.
ABSTRACT: Lytic bacteriophages are in development as biological control agents for the prevention of fire blight disease caused by Erwinia amylovora. Temperate phages should be excluded as biologicals since lysogeny produces the dual risks of host resistance to phage attack and the transduction of virulence determinants between bacteria. The extent of lysogeny was estimated in wild populations of E.?amylovora and Pantoea agglomerans with real-time polymerase chain reaction primers developed to detect E.?amylovora phages belonging to the Myoviridae and Podoviridae families. Pantoea agglomerans, an orchard epiphyte, is easily infected by Erwinia spp. phages, and it serves as a carrier in the development of the phage-mediated biological control agent. Screening of 161 E.?amylovora isolates from 16 distinct geographical areas in North America, Europe, North Africa and New Zealand and 82 P.?agglomerans isolates from southern Ontario, Canada showed that none possessed prophage. Unstable phage resistant clones or lysogens were produced under laboratory conditions. Additionally, a stable lysogen was recovered from infection of bacterial isolate Ea110R with Podoviridae phage ?Ea35-20. These laboratory observations suggested that while lysogeny is possible in E.?amylovora, it is rare or absent in natural populations, and there is a minimal risk associated with lysogenic conversion and transduction by Erwinia spp. phages.
Project description:Bacteriophages are viruses capable of recognizing with high specificity, propagating inside of, and destroying their bacterial hosts. The phage lytic life cycle makes phages attractive as tools to selectively kill pathogenic bacteria with minimal impact on the surrounding microbiome. To effectively harness the potential of phages in therapy, it is critical to understand the phage-host dynamics and how these interactions can change in complex populations. Our model examined the interactions between the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora, the antagonistic epiphyte Pantoea agglomerans, and the bacteriophages that infect and kill both species. P. agglomerans strains are used as a phage carrier; their role is to deliver and propagate the bacteriophages on the plant surface prior to the arrival of the pathogen. Using liquid cultures, the populations of the pathogen, carrier, and phages were tracked over time with quantitative real-time PCR. The jumbo Myoviridae phage ?Ea35-70 synergized with both the Myoviridae ?Ea21-4 and Podoviridae ?Ea46-1-A1 and was most effective in combination at reducing E. amylovora growth over 24 h. Phage ?Ea35-70, however, also reduced the growth of P. agglomerans. Phage cocktails of ?Ea21-4, ?Ea46-1-A1, and ?Ea35-70 at multiplicities of infections (MOIs) of 10, 1, and 0.01, respectively, no longer inhibited growth of P. agglomerans. When this cocktail was grown with P. agglomerans for 8 h prior to pathogen introduction, pathogen growth was reduced by over four log units over 24 h. These findings present a novel approach to study complex phage-host dynamics that can be exploited to create more effective phage-based therapies.
Project description:For possible control of fire blight affecting apple and pear trees, we characterized Erwinia amylovora phages from North America and Germany. The genome size determined by electron microscopy (EM) was confirmed by sequence data and major coat proteins were identified from gel bands by mass spectroscopy. By their morphology from EM data, ?Ea1h and ?Ea100 were assigned to the Podoviridae and ?Ea104 and ?Ea116 to the Myoviridae. Host ranges were essentially confined to E. amylovora, strains of the species Erwinia pyrifoliae, E. billingiae and even Pantoea stewartii were partially sensitive. The phages ?Ea1h and ?Ea100 were dependent on the amylovoran capsule of E. amylovora, ?Ea104 and ?Ea116 were not. The Myoviridae efficiently lysed their hosts and protected apple flowers significantly better than the Podoviridae against E. amylovora and should be preferred in biocontrol experiments. We have also isolated and partially characterized E. amylovora phages from apple orchards in Germany. They belong to the Podoviridae or Myoviridae with a host range similar to the phages isolated in North America. In EM measurements, the genome sizes of the Podoviridae were smaller than the genomes of the Myoviridae from North America and from Germany, which differed from each other in corresponding nucleotide sequences.
Project description:A diverse set of 24 novel phages infecting the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora was isolated from fruit production environments in Switzerland. Based on initial screening, four phages (L1, M7, S6, and Y2) with broad host ranges were selected for detailed characterization and genome sequencing. Phage L1 is a member of the Podoviridae, with a 39.3-kbp genome featuring invariable genome ends with direct terminal repeats. Phage S6, another podovirus, was also found to possess direct terminal repeats but has a larger genome (74.7 kbp), and the virus particle exhibits a complex tail fiber structure. Phages M7 and Y2 both belong to the Myoviridae family and feature long, contractile tails and genomes of 84.7 kbp (M7) and 56.6 kbp (Y2), respectively, with direct terminal repeats. The architecture of all four phage genomes is typical for tailed phages, i.e., organized into function-specific gene clusters. All four phages completely lack genes or functions associated with lysogeny control, which correlates well with their broad host ranges and indicates strictly lytic (virulent) lifestyles without the possibility for host lysogenization. Comparative genomics revealed that M7 is similar to E. amylovora virus ?Ea21-4, whereas L1, S6, and Y2 are unrelated to any other E. amylovora phage. Instead, they feature similarities to enterobacterial viruses T7, N4, and ?EcoM-GJ1. In a series of laboratory experiments, we provide proof of concept that specific two-phage cocktails offer the potential for biocontrol of the pathogen.
Project description:Erwinia amylovora bacteriophages (phages) belonging to the Myoviridae and Podoviridae families demonstrated a preference for either high-exopolysaccharide-producing (HEP) or low-exopolysaccharide-producing (LEP) bacterial hosts when grown on artificial medium without or with sugar supplementation. Myoviridae phages produced clear plaques on LEP hosts and turbid plaques on HEP hosts. The reverse preference was demonstrated by most Podoviridae phages, where clear plaques were seen on HEP hosts. Efficiency of plating (EOP) was determined by comparing phage growth on the original isolation host to the that on the LEP or HEP host. Nine of 10 Myoviridae phages showed highest EOPs on LEP hosts, and 8 of 11 Podoviridae phages had highest EOPs on HEP hosts. Increasing the production of EPS on sugar-supplemented medium or decreasing production by knocking out the synthesis of amylovoran or levan, the two EPSs produced by E. amylovora, indicated that these components play crucial roles in phage infection. Amylovoran was virtually essential for proliferation of most Podoviridae phages when phage population growth was compared to the wild type. Decreased levan production resulted in a significant reduction of progeny from phages in the Myoviridae family. Thus, Podoviridae phages are adapted to hosts that produce high levels of exopolysaccharides and are dependent on host-produced amylovoran for pathogenesis. Myoviridae phages are adapted to hosts that produce lower levels of exopolysaccharides and host-produced levan.
Project description:Pantoea vagans is a Gram-negative enterobacterial plant epiphyte of a broad range of plants. Here we report the 4.89-Mb genome sequence of P. vagans strain C9-1 (formerly Pantoea agglomerans), which is commercially registered for biological control of fire blight, a disease of pear and apple trees caused by Erwinia amylovora.
Project description:Bacteriophages are the most abundant organisms on the planet and both lytic and temperate phages play key roles as shapers of ecosystems and drivers of bacterial evolution. Temperate phages can choose between (i) lysis: exploiting their bacterial hosts by producing multiple phage particles and releasing them by lysing the host cell, and (ii) lysogeny: establishing a potentially mutually beneficial relationship with the host by integrating their chromosome into the host cell's genome. Temperate phages exhibit lysogeny propensities in the curiously narrow range of 5-15%. For some temperate phages, the propensity is further regulated by the multiplicity of infection, such that single infections go predominantly lytic while multiple infections go predominantly lysogenic. We ask whether these observations can be explained by selection pressures in environments where multiple phage variants compete for the same host. Our models of pairwise competition, between phage variants that differ only in their propensity to lysogenize, predict the optimal lysogeny propensity to fall within the experimentally observed range. This prediction is robust to large variation in parameters such as the phage infection rate, burst size, decision rate, as well as bacterial growth rate, and initial phage to bacteria ratio. When we compete phage variants whose lysogeny strategies are allowed to depend upon multiplicity of infection, we find that the optimal strategy is one which switches from full lysis for single infections to full lysogeny for multiple infections. Previous attempts to explain lysogeny propensity have argued for bet-hedging that optimizes the response to fluctuating environmental conditions. Our results suggest that there is an additional selection pressure for lysogeny propensity within phage populations infecting a bacterial host, independent of environmental conditions.
Project description:Pantoea agglomerans is a common soil bacterium used in the biocontrol of fungi and bacteria but is also an opportunistic human pathogen. It has been described extensively in this context, but knowledge of bacteriophages infecting this species is limited. Bacteriophages LIMEzero and LIMElight of P. agglomerans are lytic phages, isolated from soil samples, belonging to the Podoviridae and are the first Pantoea phages of this family to be described. The double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genomes (43,032 bp and 44,546 bp, respectively) encode 57 and 55 open reading frames (ORFs). Based on the presence of an RNA polymerase in their genomes and their overall genome architecture, these phages should be classified in the subfamily of the Autographivirinae, within the genus of the "phiKMV-like viruses." Phylogenetic analysis of all the sequenced members of the Autographivirinae supports the classification of phages LIMElight and LIMEzero as members of the "phiKMV-like viruses" and corroborates the subdivision into the different genera. These data expand the knowledge of Pantoea phages and illustrate the wide host diversity of phages within the "phiKMV-like viruses."
Project description:Temperate viruses can become dormant in their host cells, a process called lysogeny. In every infection, such viruses decide between the lytic and the lysogenic cycles, that is, whether to replicate and lyse their host or to lysogenize and keep the host viable. Here we show that viruses (phages) of the SPbeta group use a small-molecule communication system to coordinate lysis-lysogeny decisions. During infection of its Bacillus host cell, the phage produces a six amino-acids-long communication peptide that is released into the medium. In subsequent infections, progeny phages measure the concentration of this peptide and lysogenize if the concentration is sufficiently high. We found that different phages encode different versions of the communication peptide, demonstrating a phage-specific peptide communication code for lysogeny decisions. We term this communication system the 'arbitrium' system, and further show that it is encoded by three phage genes: aimP, which produces the peptide; aimR, the intracellular peptide receptor; and aimX, a negative regulator of lysogeny. The arbitrium system enables a descendant phage to 'communicate' with its predecessors, that is, to estimate the amount of recent previous infections and hence decide whether to employ the lytic or lysogenic cycle.
Project description:Pantoea vagans C9-1 is a biocontrol strain that produces at least two antibiotics inhibiting the growth of Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of fire blight disease of pear and apple. One antibiotic, herbicolin I, was purified from culture filtrates of P. vagans C9-1 and determined to be 2-amino-3-(oxirane-2,3-dicarboxamido)-propanoyl-valine, also known as N(ß)-epoxysuccinamoyl-DAP-valine. A plasposon library was screened for mutants that had lost the ability to produce herbicolin I. It was shown that mutants had reduced biocontrol efficacy in immature pear assays. The biosynthetic gene cluster in P. vagans C9-1 was identified by sequencing the flanking regions of the plasposon insertion sites. The herbicolin I biosynthetic gene cluster consists of 10 coding sequences (CDS) and is located on the 166-kb plasmid pPag2. Sequence comparisons identified orthologous gene clusters in Pantoea agglomerans CU0119 and Serratia proteamaculans 568. A low incidence of detection of the biosynthetic cluster in a collection of 45 Pantoea spp. from biocontrol, environmental, and clinical origins showed that this is a rare trait among the tested strains.
Project description:The epiphyte Pantoea agglomerans 48b/90 (Pa48b) is a promising biocontrol strain against economically important bacterial pathogens such as Erwinia amylovora. Strain Pa48b produces the broad-spectrum antibiotic 2-amino-3-(oxirane-2,3-dicarboxamido)-propanoyl-valine (APV) in a temperature-dependent manner. An APV-negative mutant still suppressed the E. amylovora population and fire blight disease symptoms in apple blossom experiments under greenhouse conditions, but was inferior to the Pa48b wild-type indicating the influence of APV in the antagonism. In plant experiments with the soybean pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. glycinea both, Pa48b and the APV-negative mutant, successfully suppressed the pathogen. Our results demonstrate that the P. agglomerans strain Pa48b is an efficient biocontrol organism against plant pathogens, and we prove its ability for fast colonization of plant surfaces over a wide temperature range.