Natural bacteriophages ofPseudomonas fluorescensare rare and its temperate phages have not been described so far. In search for these phages, we have found that one of the P. fluorescensstrains forms numerous small transparent autoplaques of different size and shape, which contained material reproducible on the same strains. When centrifuged in a cesium chloride gradient, this material yielded a band in the density zone of about 1.3 g/cm3, where protein components or bacteriophages with a relatively low content of nucleic acid are usually located. In the band material, electron microscopy revealed phagelike particles with empty and mostly undamaged heads and tails carrying in their distal region a formation resembling contracted sheath. DNA isolated from the preparation consisted of two components: a distinct 54-kb fragment, and a diffuse fragment ranging in size from 20 to 9.5 kb. Treatment of the large DNA fragment with various endonucleases yielded 42.2- and 29.5-kb fragments (on average for different endonucleases); whereas the same treatment of the diffuse fragment yielded two- to three distinct fragments with the overall molecular sizes of 8.9 and 6.2 kb (for different nucleases). We have suggested that cells harbor two different genetic elements whose interaction results in the autoplaque appearance and in the formation of negative colonies after infection with the autoplaque material. One of the two elements displays properties of a defective prophage with disturbed DNA synthesis and assembly, whereas the other exhibits the properties of a transposable phage. After complementation or some other interaction between these elements (transactivation, prophage induction caused by repressor inactivation), a bulk of defective phage particles devoid of DNA and a few DNA-containing particles were produced. It remains unclear whether both DNA types are contained in the same or different particles. The phage (or a system of elements) referred to as PT3 is noninducible. The phage mutants forming larger negative colonies (NCs) were also revealed. Some of bacterial mutants resistant to PT3 infection produce the mutant phage with small and turbid NCs. PT3 produces no NCs on the lawns of other strains of the same or other pseudomonad species. This is the first case of describing a natural temperate bacteriophage in P. fluorescens.The two different elements of this phage may represent the same genome of the defective prophage divided into two portions within a bacterial chromosome, each of which is capable of packaging into the phage head.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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