Bacteriophages isolated from Lake Michigan demonstrate broad host-range across several bacterial phyla.
ABSTRACT: The study of bacteriophages continues to generate key information about microbial interactions in the environment. Many phenotypic characteristics of bacteriophages cannot be examined by sequencing alone, further highlighting the necessity for isolation and examination of phages from environmental samples. While much of our current knowledge base has been generated by the study of marine phages, freshwater viruses are understudied in comparison. Our group has previously conducted metagenomics-based studies samples collected from Lake Michigan - the data presented in this study relate to four phages that were extracted from the same samples.Four phages were extracted from Lake Michigan on the same bacterial host, exhibiting similar morphological characteristics as shown under transmission electron microscopy. Growth characteristics of the phages were unique to each isolate. Each phage demonstrated a host-range spanning several phyla of bacteria - to date, such a broad host-range is yet to be reported. Genomic data reveals genomes of a similar size, and close similarities between the Lake Michigan phages and the Pseudomonas phage PB1, however, the majority of annotated genes present were ORFans and little insight was offered into mechanisms for host-range.The phages isolated from Lake Michigan are capable of infecting several bacterial phyla, and demonstrate varied phenotypic characteristics despite similarities in host preference, and at the genomic level. We propose that such a broad host-range is likely related to the oligotrophic nature of Lake Michigan, and the competitive benefit that this characteristic may lend to phages in nature.
Project description:Bacteriophages of freshwater environments have not been well studied despite their numerical dominance and ecological importance. Currently, very few phages have been isolated for many abundant freshwater bacterial groups, especially for the family Comamonadaceae that is found ubiquitously in freshwater habitats. In this study, we report two novel phages, P26059A and P26059B, that were isolated from Lake Soyang in South Korea, and lytically infected bacterial strain IMCC26059, a member of the family Comamonadaceae. Morphological observations revealed that phages P26059A and P26059B belonged to the family Siphoviridae and Podoviridae, respectively. Of 12 bacterial strains tested, the two phages infected strain IMCC26059 only, showing a very narrow host range. The genomes of the two phages were different in length and highly distinct from each other with little sequence similarity. A comparison of the phage genome sequences and freshwater viral metagenomes showed that the phage populations represented by P26059A and P26059B exist in the environment with different distribution patterns. Presence of the phages in Lake Soyang and Lake Michigan also indicated a consistent lytic infection of the Comamonadaceae bacterium, which might control the population size of this bacterial group. Taken together, although the two phages shared a host strain, they showed completely distinctive characteristics from each other in morphological, genomic, and ecological analyses. Considering the abundance of the family Comamonadaceae in freshwater habitats and the rarity of phage isolates infecting this family, the two phages and their genomes in this study would be valuable resources for freshwater virus research.
Project description:Despite the abundance, ubiquity and impact of environmental viruses, their inherent genomic plasticity and extreme diversity pose significant challenges for the examination of bacteriophages on Earth. Viral metagenomic studies have offered insight into broader aspects of phage ecology and repeatedly uncover genes to which we are currently unable to assign function. A combined effort of phage isolation and metagenomic survey of Chicago’s nearshore waters of Lake Michigan revealed the presence of Pbunaviruses, relatives of the Pseudomonas phage PB1. This prompted our expansive investigation of PB1-like phages. Genomic signatures of PB1-like phages and Pbunaviruses were identified, permitting the unambiguous distinction between the presence/absence of these phages in soils, freshwater and wastewater samples, as well as publicly available viral metagenomic datasets. This bioinformatic analysis led to the de novo assembly of nine novel PB1-like phage genomes from a metagenomic survey of samples collected from Lake Michigan. While this study finds that Pbunaviruses are abundant in various environments of Northern Illinois, genomic variation also exists to a considerable extent within individual communities.
Project description:Bacteriophages (phages) evolve rapidly by acquiring genes from other phages. This results in mosaic genomes. Here, we identify numerous genetic transfers between distantly related phages and aim at understanding their frequency, consequences, and the conditions favoring them. Gene flow tends to occur between phages that are enriched for recombinases, transposases, and nonhomologous end joining, suggesting that both homologous and illegitimate recombination contribute to gene flow. Phage family and host phyla are strong barriers to gene exchange, but phage lifestyle is not. Even if we observe four times more recent transfers between temperate phages than between other pairs, there is extensive gene flow between temperate and virulent phages, and between the latter. These predominantly involve virulent phages with large genomes previously classed as low gene flux, and lead to the preferential transfer of genes encoding functions involved in cell energetics, nucleotide metabolism, DNA packaging and injection, and virion assembly. Such exchanges may contribute to the observed twice larger genomes of virulent phages. We used genetic transfers, which occur upon coinfection of a host, to compare phage host range. We found that virulent phages have broader host ranges and can mediate genetic exchanges between narrow host range temperate phages infecting distant bacterial hosts, thus contributing to gene flow between virulent phages, as well as between temperate phages. This gene flow drastically expands the gene repertoires available for phage and bacterial evolution, including the transfer of functional innovations across taxa.
Project description:Our emerging view of the gut microbiome largely focuses on bacteria, while less is known about other microbial components, such as bacteriophages (phages). Though phages are abundant in the gut, very few phages have been isolated from this ecosystem. Here, we report the genomes of 27 phages from the United States and Bangladesh that infect the prevalent human gut bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. These phages are mostly distinct from previously sequenced phages with the exception of two, which are crAss-like phages. We compare these isolates to existing human gut metagenomes, revealing similarities to previously inferred phages and additional unexplored phage diversity. Finally, we use host tropisms of these phages to identify alleles of phage structural genes associated with infectivity. This work provides a detailed view of the gut's "viral dark matter" and a framework for future efforts to further integrate isolation- and sequencing-focused efforts to understand gut-resident phages.
Project description:The Siphoviridae family of bacteriophages is the largest viral family on earth and comprises members infecting both bacteria and archaea. Lactococcal siphophages infect the Gram-positive bacterium Lactococcus lactis, which is widely used for industrial milk fermentation processes (e.g., cheese production). As a result, lactococcal phages have become one of the most thoroughly characterized class of phages from a genomic standpoint. They exhibit amazing and intriguing characteristics. First, each phage has a strict specificity toward a unique or a handful of L. lactis host strains. Second, most lactococcal phages possess a large organelle at their tail tip (termed the baseplate), bearing the receptor binding proteins (RBPs) and mediating host adsorption. The recent accumulation of structural and functional data revealed the modular structure of their building blocks, their different mechanisms of activation and the fine specificity of their RBPs. These results also illustrate similarities and differences between lactococcal Siphoviridae and Gram-negative infecting Myoviridae.
Project description:We report DNA and predicted protein sequence similarities, implying homology, among genes of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bacteriophages and prophages spanning a broad phylogenetic range of host bacteria. The sequence matches reported here establish genetic connections, not always direct, among the lambdoid phages of Escherichia coli, phage phiC31 of Streptomyces, phages of Mycobacterium, a previously unrecognized cryptic prophage, phiflu, in the Haemophilus influenzae genome, and two small prophage-like elements, phiRv1 and phiRv2, in the genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The results imply that these phage genes, and very possibly all of the dsDNA tailed phages, share common ancestry. We propose a model for the genetic structure and dynamics of the global phage population in which all dsDNA phage genomes are mosaics with access, by horizontal exchange, to a large common genetic pool but in which access to the gene pool is not uniform for all phage.
Project description:Bacteriophages, as the most abundant biological entities on Earth, place significant predation pressure on their hosts. This pressure plays a critical role in the evolution, diversity, and abundance of bacteria. In addition, phages modulate the genetic diversity of prokaryotic communities through the transfer of auxiliary metabolic genes. Various studies have been conducted in diverse ecosystems to understand phage-host interactions and their effects on prokaryote metabolism and community composition. However, hypersaline environments remain among the least studied ecosystems and the interaction between the phages and prokaryotes in these habitats is poorly understood. This study begins to fill this knowledge gap by analyzing bacteriophage-host interactions in the Great Salt Lake, the largest prehistoric hypersaline lake in the Western Hemisphere. Our metagenomics analyses allowed us to comprehensively identify the bacterial and phage communities with Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes as the most dominant bacterial species and Siphoviridae, Myoviridae, and Podoviridae as the most dominant viral families found in the metagenomic sequences. We also characterized interactions between the phage and prokaryotic communities of Great Salt Lake and determined how these interactions possibly influence the community diversity, structure, and biogeochemical cycles. In addition, presence of prophages and their interaction with the prokaryotic host was studied and showed the possibility of prophage induction and subsequent infection of prokaryotic community present in the Great Salt Lake environment under different environmental stress factors. We found that carbon cycle was the most susceptible nutrient cycling pathways to prophage induction in the presence of environmental stresses. This study gives an enhanced snapshot of phage and prokaryote abundance and diversity as well as their interactions in a hypersaline complex ecosystem, which can pave the way for further research studies.
Project description:In 2016, Michigan experienced the largest outbreak of shigellosis, a type of bacillary dysentery caused by Shigella spp., since 1988. Following this outbreak, we isolated 16 novel Shigella-infecting bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) from environmental water sources. Most well-known bacteriophages infect the common laboratory species Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica, and these phages have built the foundation of molecular and bacteriophage biology. Until now, comparatively few bacteriophages were known to infect Shigella spp., which are close relatives of E. coli We present a comprehensive analysis of these phages' host ranges, genomes, and structures, revealing genome sizes and capsid properties that are shared by very few previously described phages. After sequencing, a majority of the Shigella phages were found to have genomes of an uncommon size, shared by only 2% of all reported phage genomes. To investigate the structural implications of this unusual genome size, we used cryo-electron microscopy to resolve their capsid structures. We determined that these bacteriophage capsids have similarly uncommon geometry. Only two other viruses with this capsid structure have been described. Since most well-known bacteriophages infect Escherichia or Salmonella, our understanding of bacteriophages has been limited to a subset of well-described systems. Continuing to isolate phages using nontraditional strains of bacteria can fill gaps that currently exist in bacteriophage biology. In addition, the prevalence of Shigella phages during a shigellosis outbreak may suggest a potential impact of human health epidemics on local microbial communities.IMPORTANCEShigella spp. bacteria are causative agents of dysentery and affect more than 164 million people worldwide every year. Despite the need to combat antibiotic-resistant Shigella strains, relatively few Shigella-infecting bacteriophages have been described. By specifically looking for Shigella-infecting phages, this work has identified new isolates that (i) may be useful to combat Shigella infections and (ii) fill gaps in our knowledge of bacteriophage biology. The rare qualities of these new isolates emphasize the importance of isolating phages on "nontraditional" laboratory strains of bacteria to more fully understand both the basic biology and diversity of bacteriophages.
Project description:<i>Pseudomonas</i> phage MD8 is a temperate phage isolated from the freshwater lake Baikal. The organisation of the MD8 genome resembles the genomes of lambdoid bacteriophages. However, MD8 gene and protein sequences have little in common with classified representatives of lambda-like phages. Analysis of phage genomes revealed a group of other <i>Pseudomonas</i> phages related to phage MD8 and the genomic layout of MD8-like phages indicated extensive gene exchange involving even the most conservative proteins and leading to a high degree of genomic mosaicism. Multiple horizontal transfers and mosaicism of the genome of MD8, related phages and other λ-like phages raise questions about the principles of taxonomic classification of the representatives of this voluminous phage group. Comparison and analysis of various bioinformatic approaches applied to λ-like phage genomes demonstrated different efficiency and contradictory results in the estimation of genomic similarity and relatedness. However, we were able to make suggestions for the possible origin of the MD8 genome and the basic principles for the taxonomic classification of lambdoid phages. The group comprising 26 MD8-related phages was proposed to classify as two close genera belonging to a big family of λ-like phages.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nowadays, hundreds of thousands of deaths per year are caused by antibiotic resistant nosocomial infections and the prognosis for future years is much worse, as evidenced by modern research. Bacteria of the Klebsiella genus are one of the main pathogens that cause nosocomial infections. Among the many antimicrobials offered to replace or supplement traditional antibiotics, bacteriophages are promising candidates.<h4>Methods</h4>This article presents microbiological, physicochemical and genomic characterization of 4 virulent bacteriophages belonging to Siphoviridae, Myoviridae and Podoviridae families. Phages were studied by electron microscopy; their host range, lytic activity, adsorption rate, burst size, latent period, frequency of phage-resistant forms generation, lysis dynamics and sensitivity of phage particles to temperature and pH were identified; genomes of all 4 bacteriophages were studied by restriction digestion and complete genome sequence.<h4>Results</h4>Studied phages showed wide host range and high stability at different temperature and pH values. In contrast with single phages, a cocktail of bacteriophages lysed all studied bacterial strains, moreover, no cases of the emergence of phage-resistant bacterial colonies were detected. Genomic data proved that isolated viruses do not carry antibiotic resistance, virulence or lysogenic genes. Three out of four bacteriophages encode polysaccharide depolymerases, which are involved in the degradation of biofilms and capsules.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The bacteriophages studied in this work are promising for further in vivo studies and might be used in phage therapy as part of a complex therapeutic and prophylactic phage preparation. The conducted studies showed that the complex preparation is more effective than individual phages. The use of the complex phage cocktail allows to extend the lytic spectrum, and significantly reduces the possibility of phage-resistant forms generation.