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Comparative genomic analysis of 10 Streptococcus pneumoniae temperate bacteriophages

AuthorsRomero, Patricia ; Croucher, Nicholas J.; Hiller, N. Luisa; Hu, Fen Z.; Ehrlich, Garth D.; Bentley, Stephan D.; García, Ernesto ; Mitchell, Tim J.
Issue DateAug-2009
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitationJournal of Bacteriology 191(15):4854-4862(2009)
AbstractStreptococcus pneumoniae is an important human pathogen that often carries temperate bacteriophages. As part of a program to characterize the genetic makeup of prophages associated with clinical strains and to assess the potential roles that they play in the biology and pathogenesis in their host, we performed comparative genomic analysis of 10 temperate pneumococcal phages. All of the genomes are organized into five major gene clusters: lysogeny, replication, packaging, morphogenesis, and lysis clusters. All of the phage particles observed showed a Siphoviridae morphology. The only genes that are well conserved in all the genomes studied are those involved in the integration and the lysis of the host in addition to two genes, of unknown function, within the replication module. We observed that a high percentage of the open reading frames contained no similarities to any sequences catalogued in public databases; however, genes that were homologous to known phage virulence genes, including the pblB gene of Streptococcus mitis and the vapE gene of Dichelobacter nodosus, were also identified. Interestingly, bioinformatic tools showed the presence of a toxin-antitoxin system in the phage φSpn_6, and this represents the first time that an addition system in a pneumophage has been identified. Collectively, the temperate pneumophages contain a diverse set of genes with various levels of similarity among them.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is an important human pathogen and a major etiological agent of pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis in adults and of otitis media in children. The casualties due to the pneumococcus are estimated to be over 1.6 million deaths per year, and most of these deaths are of young children in developing countries (40). S. pneumoniae is also a human commensal that resides in the upper respiratory tract, and it is asymptomatically carried in the nasopharynx of up to 60% of the normal population (48). Bacteriophages of S. pneumoniae (pneumophages) were first identified in 1975 from samples isolated from throat swabs of healthy children by two independent groups (46, 65). Since then, pneumophages have been identified from different sources and a variety of locations (44). The abundance of temperate bacteriophages in S. pneumoniae has been reported in different studies in the past (6, 54). Up to 76% of clinical isolates have been showed to contain prophages (or prophage remnants) when studied with a DNA probe specific for the major autolysin gene, lytA, which hybridizes with many of the endolysin genes of temperate pneumococcal phages (54). Hybridization analyses have identified highly similar prophages among pneumococcal clinical isolates even of different capsular serotypes, a result which indicates the widespread distribution of these mobile genetic elements among virulent strains (26).
Only three S. pneumoniae bacteriophage genomes have been characterized in detail, and their sequences have been determined. Dp-1 and Cp-1 are lytic bacteriophages, whereas MM1 is a temperate pneumophage (45, 50, 52). Genes coding for virulence factors such as toxins or secreted enzymes have been associated with the presence of prophages in both gram-negative (67) and gram-positive bacteria, such as Streptococcus pyogenes (7) and Staphylococcus aureus (23). Because a considerable number of toxin genes are located in prophages, phage dynamics are of apparent importance for bacterial pathogenesis. Unfortunately, the role of temperate bacteriophages in the virulence of S. pneumoniae remains mostly unknown. Recently, the availability of relatively inexpensive next-generation sequencing technologies has permitted the complete genomic analysis of dozens of genomes of pneumococcal clinical isolates. In this report, we present a comparative genomic analysis of 10 pneumophages identified in the genomes of newly sequenced S. pneumoniae strains. The proteome of these phages has been predicted and annotated by comparative sequence analyses by using the available databases at the National Center for Biotechnological Information website (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/). This systematic characterization of pneumophage genomes provides for a substantial increase in our knowledge of the global proteome and the overall genetic diversity of this important human pathogen. The comparative analysis of multiple temperate bacteriophages from a single species offers a unique opportunity to study one of the mechanisms of lateral gene transfer that drive prokaryotic genetic diversity
Description9 páginas, 1 figura, 2 tablas -- PAGS nros. 4854-4862
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/0.1128/​JB.01272-08
Appears in Collections:(CIB) Artículos
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