Defective prophages, which are found in the genomes of many bacteria, are unable to complete a viral replication cycle and propagate in their hosts as healthy prophages. They package random DNA fragments derived from various sites of the host chromosome instead of their own genomes. In this study, we characterized a defective phage, PBP180, which was induced from Bacillus pumilus AB94180 by treatment with mitomycin C. Electron microscopy showed that the PBP180 particle has a head with a hexagonal outline of ~40 nm in diameter and a long tail. The DNA packaged in the PBP180 head consists of 8-kb DNA fragments from random portions of the host chromosome. The head and tail proteins of the PBP180 particle consist of four major proteins of approximately 49, 33, 16 and 14 kDa. The protein profile of PBP180 is different from that of PBSX, a well-known defective phage induced from Bacillus subtilis 168. A killing activity test against two susceptible strains each of B. subtilis and B. pumilus showed that the defective particles of PBP180 killed three strains other than its own host, B. pumilus AB94180, differing from the host-killing ranges of the defective phages PBSX, PBSZ (induced from B. subtilis W23), and PBSX4 (induced from B. pumilus AB94044). The genome of the PBP180 prophage, which is integrated in the B. pumilus AB94180 chromosome, is 28,205 bp in length, with 40 predicted open reading frames (ORFs). Further genomic comparison of prophages PBP180, PBSX, PBSZ and other PBSX-like prophage elements in B. pumilus strains revealed that their overall architectures are similar, but significant low homology exists in ORF29-ORF38, which presumably encode tail fiber proteins involved in recognition and killing of susceptible strains.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2014
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