One-hundred-fifteen bacteriophage strains were isolated from alkaline hot springs in Iceland, New Zealand, Russia (Kamchatka), and the U.S.A. The phages belonged to the Myoviridae , Siphoviridae , Tectiviridae , and Inoviridae families. Over 50% of isolates were isometric or filamentous. One type of siphovirus had giant tails of over 800 nm in length. Phages were further characterized by host range, genome size, DNA restriction endonuclease digestion patterns, and temperature and pH sensitivity. Myoviruses and tectiviruses had a worldwide distribution. Most phages were narrowly host-specific and all were highly resistant against heating and alkaline and acidic pH. This is the first time that tectiviruses and filamentous phages are reported for bacteria of the Thermus-Deinococcus phylum. The presence of tectiviruses, inoviruses, and myoviruses is attributed to acquisition from ancestral γ-proteobacteria by horizontal gene transfer.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2006
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