The Belgian National Reference Centre for Salmonella received 16,544 human isolates of Salmonella enterica between January 2009 and December 2013. Although 377 different serotypes were identified, the landscape is dominated by the serovars Typhimurium (55%) and Enteritidis (19%) in a ratio which is inverse to European Union averages. With outbreaks of serotypes Ohio, Stanley and Paratyphi B var. Java as prime examples, twenty serotypes displayed significant fluctuations in this five-year period. Typhoid strains account for 1.2% of Belgian salmonellosis cases. Large-scale antibiotic susceptibility analyses (N=4,561; panel of 12 antibiotics) showed declining resistance levels in Enteritis and Typhimurium isolates for 8 and 3 tested agents, respectively. Despite low overall resistance to ciprofloxacin (4.4%) and cefotaxime (1.6%), we identified clonal lineages of Kentucky and Infantis displaying rising resistance against these clinically important drugs. Quinolone resistance is mainly mediated by serotype-specific mutations in GyrA residues Ser83 and Asp87 (92.2% non-wild type), while an additional ParC_Ser80Ile mutation leads to ciprofloxacin resistance in 95.5% Kentucky isolates, which exceeds European averages. Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) alleles qnrA1 (N=1), qnrS (N=9), qnrD1 (N=4) or qnrB (N=4) were only found in 3.0% of 533 isolates resistant to nalidixic acid. In cefotaxime-resistant isolates, we identified a broad range of Ambler class A and C ?-lactamases (e.g., blaSHV-12, blaTEM-52, blaCTX-M-14, blaCTX-M-15) genes commonly associated with Enterobacteriaceae. In conclusion, resistance to fluoroquinolones and cefotaxime remains rare in human S. enterica, but clonal resistant serotypes arise and continued (inter)national surveillance is mandatory to understand the origin and routes of dissemination thereof.
Addressing the functionality of predicted genes remains an enormous challenge in the postgenomic era. A prime example of genes lacking functional assignments are the poorly conserved, early expressed genes of lytic bacteriophages, whose products are involved in the subversion of the host metabolism. In this study, we focused on the composition of important macromolecular complexes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa involved in transcription, DNA replication, fatty acid biosynthesis, RNA regulation, energy metabolism, and cell division during infection with members of seven distinct clades of lytic phages. Using affinity purifications of these host protein complexes coupled to mass spectrometric analyses, 37 host complex-associated phage proteins could be identified. Importantly, eight of these show an inhibitory effect on bacterial growth upon episomal expression, suggesting that these phage proteins are potentially involved in hijacking the host complexes. Using complementary protein-protein interaction assays, we further mapped the inhibitory interaction of gp12 of phage 14-1 to the ? subunit of the RNA polymerase. Together, our data demonstrate the powerful use of interactomics to unravel the biological role of hypothetical phage proteins, which constitute an enormous untapped source of novel antibacterial proteins. (Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD001199.).
Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage ?KZ is the type representative of the giant phage genus, which is characterized by unusually large virions and genomes. By unraveling the transcriptional map of the ? 280-kb ?KZ genome to single-nucleotide resolution, we combine 369 ?KZ genes into 134 operons. Early transcription is initiated from highly conserved AT-rich promoters distributed across the ?KZ genome and located on the same strand of the genome. Early transcription does not require phage or host protein synthesis. Transcription of middle and late genes is dependent on protein synthesis and mediated by poorly conserved middle and late promoters. Unique to ?KZ is its ability to complete its infection in the absence of bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) enzyme activity. We propose that transcription of the ?KZ genome is performed by the consecutive action of two ?KZ-encoded, noncanonical multisubunit RNAPs, one of which is packed within the virion, another being the product of early genes. This unique, rifampin-resistant transcriptional machinery is conserved within the diverse giant phage genus.
Immediately after infection, virulent bacteriophages hijack the molecular machinery of their bacterial host to create an optimal climate for phage propagation. For the vast majority of known phages, it is completely unknown which bacterial functions are inhibited or coopted. Early expressed phage genome regions are rarely identified, and often filled with small genes with no homology in databases (so-called ORFans). In this work, we first analysed the temporal transcription pattern of the N4-like Pseudomonas-infecting phages and selected 26 unknown, early phage ORFans. By expressing their encoded proteins individually in the host bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, we identified and further characterized six antibacterial early phage proteins using time-lapse microscopy, radioactive labelling and pull-down experiments. Yeast two-hybrid analysis gaveclues to their possible role in phage infection. Specifically, we show that the inhibitory proteins may interact with transcriptional regulator PA0120, the replicative DNA helicase DnaB, the riboflavin metabolism key enzyme RibB, the ATPase PA0657and the spermidine acetyltransferase PA4114. The dependency of phage infection on spermidine was shown in a final experiment. In the future, knowledge of how phages shut down their hosts as well ass novel phage-host interaction partners could be very valuable in the identification of novel antibacterial targets.
In contrast to the rapidly increasing knowledge on genome content and diversity of bacterial viruses, insights in intracellular phage development and its impact on bacterial physiology are very limited. We present a multifaceted study combining quantitative PCR (qPCR), microarray, RNA-seq, and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-GE), to obtain a global overview of alterations in DNA, RNA, and protein content in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 cells upon infection with the strictly lytic phage LUZ19. Viral genome replication occurs in the second half of the phage infection cycle and coincides with degradation of the bacterial genome. At the RNA level, there is a sharp increase in viral mRNAs from 23 to 60% of all transcripts after 5 and 15 min of infection, respectively. Although microarray analysis revealed a complex pattern of bacterial up- and downregulated genes, the accumulation of viral mRNA clearly coincides with a general breakdown of abundant bacterial transcripts. Two-dimensional gel electrophoretic analyses shows no bacterial protein degradation during phage infection, and seven stress-related bacterial proteins appear. Moreover, the two most abundantly expressed early and late-early phage proteins, LUZ19 gene product 13 (Gp13) and Gp21, completely inhibit P. aeruginosa growth when expressed from a single-copy plasmid. Since Gp13 encodes a predicted GNAT acetyltransferase, this observation points at a crucial but yet unexplored level of posttranslational viral control during infection.
We discovered a novel interaction between phage P22 and its host Salmonella Typhimurium LT2 that is characterized by a phage mediated and targeted derepression of the host dgo operon. Upon further investigation, this interaction was found to be instigated by an ORFan gene (designated pid for phage P22 encoded instigator of dgo expression) located on a previously unannotated moron locus in the late region of the P22 genome, and encoding an 86 amino acid protein of 9.3 kDa. Surprisingly, the Pid/dgo interaction was not observed during strict lytic or lysogenic proliferation of P22, and expression of pid was instead found to arise in cells that upon infection stably maintained an unintegrated phage chromosome that segregated asymmetrically upon subsequent cell divisions. Interestingly, among the emerging siblings, the feature of pid expression remained tightly linked to the cell inheriting this phage carrier state and became quenched in the other. As such, this study is the first to reveal molecular and genetic markers authenticating pseudolysogenic development, thereby exposing a novel mechanism, timing, and populational distribution in the realm of phage-host interactions.
(Bacterio)phage PVP-SE1, isolated from a German wastewater plant, presents a high potential value as a biocontrol agent and as a diagnostic tool, even compared to the well-studied typing phage Felix 01, due to its broad lytic spectrum against different Salmonella strains. Sequence analysis of its genome (145,964 bp) shows it to be terminally redundant and circularly permuted. Its G+C content, 45.6 mol%, is lower than that of its hosts (50 to 54 mol%). We found a total of 244 open reading frames (ORFs), representing 91.6% of the coding capacity of the genome. Approximately 46% of encoded proteins are unique to this phage, and 22.1% of the proteins could be functionally assigned. This myovirus encodes a large number of tRNAs (n=24), reflecting its lytic capacity and evolution through different hosts. Tandem mass spectrometric analysis using electron spray ionization revealed 25 structural proteins as part of the mature phage particle. The genome sequence was found to share homology with 140 proteins of the Escherichia coli bacteriophage rV5. Both phages are unrelated to any other known virus, which suggests that an "rV5-like virus" genus should be created within the Myoviridae to contain these two phages.
The increasing antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations requires alternatives for classical treatment of infectious diseases and therefore drives the renewed interest in phage therapy. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major problem in health care settings and live-stock breeding across the world. This research aims at a thorough microbiological, genomic, and proteomic characterization of S. aureus phage ISP, required for therapeutic applications. Host range screening of a large batch of S. aureus isolates and subsequent fingerprint and DNA microarray analysis of the isolates revealed a substantial activity of ISP against 86% of the isolates, including relevant MRSA strains. From a phage therapy perspective, the infection parameters and the frequency of bacterial mutations conferring ISP resistance were determined. Further, ISP was proven to be stable in relevant in vivo conditions and subcutaneous as well as nasal and oral ISP administration to rabbits appeared to cause no adverse effects. ISP encodes 215 gene products on its 138,339 bp genome, 22 of which were confirmed as structural proteins using tandem electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS), and shares strong sequence homology with the Twort-like viruses. No toxic or virulence-associated proteins were observed. The microbiological and molecular characterization of ISP supports its application in a phage cocktail for therapeutic purposes.
Pantoea agglomerans is a common soil bacterium used in the biocontrol of fungi and bacteria but is also an opportunistic human pathogen. It has been described extensively in this context, but knowledge of bacteriophages infecting this species is limited. Bacteriophages LIMEzero and LIMElight of P. agglomerans are lytic phages, isolated from soil samples, belonging to the Podoviridae and are the first Pantoea phages of this family to be described. The double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genomes (43,032 bp and 44,546 bp, respectively) encode 57 and 55 open reading frames (ORFs). Based on the presence of an RNA polymerase in their genomes and their overall genome architecture, these phages should be classified in the subfamily of the Autographivirinae, within the genus of the "phiKMV-like viruses." Phylogenetic analysis of all the sequenced members of the Autographivirinae supports the classification of phages LIMElight and LIMEzero as members of the "phiKMV-like viruses" and corroborates the subdivision into the different genera. These data expand the knowledge of Pantoea phages and illustrate the wide host diversity of phages within the "phiKMV-like viruses."
Formation of a protected biofilm environment is recognized as one of the major causes of the increasing antibiotic resistance development and emphasizes the need to develop alternative antibacterial strategies, like phage therapy. This study investigates the in vitro degradation of single-species Pseudomonas putida biofilms, PpG1 and RD5PR2, by the novel phage ?15, a T7-like virus with a virion-associated exopolysaccharide (EPS) depolymerase. Phage ?15 forms plaques surrounded by growing opaque halo zones, indicative for EPS degradation, on seven out of 53 P. putida strains. The absence of haloes on infection resistant strains suggests that the EPS probably act as a primary bacterial receptor for phage infection. Independent of bacterial strain or biofilm age, a time and dose dependent response of ?15-mediated biofilm degradation was observed with generally a maximum biofilm degradation 8 h after addition of the higher phage doses (10(4) and 10(6) pfu) and resistance development after 24 h. Biofilm age, an in vivo very variable parameter, reduced markedly phage-mediated degradation of PpG1 biofilms, while degradation of RD5PR2 biofilms and ?15 amplification were unaffected. Killing of the planktonic culture occurred in parallel with but was always more pronounced than biofilm degradation, accentuating the need for evaluating phages for therapeutic purposes in biofilm conditions. EPS degrading activity of recombinantly expressed viral tail spike was confirmed by capsule staining. These data suggests that the addition of high initial titers of specifically selected phages with a proper EPS depolymerase are crucial criteria in the development of phage therapy.
Although horizontal gene transfer plays a pivotal role in bacteriophage evolution, many lytic phage genomes are clearly shaped by vertical evolution. We investigated the influence of minor genomic deletions and insertions on various phage-related phenotypic and serological properties.
Pseudomonas species and their bacteriophages have been studied intensely since the beginning of the 20th century, due to their ubiquitous nature, and medical and ecological importance. Here, we summarize recent molecular research performed on Pseudomonas phages by reviewing findings on individual phage genera. While large phage collections are stored and characterized worldwide, the limits of their genomic diversity are becoming more and more apparent. Although this article emphasizes the biological background and molecular characteristics of these phages, special attention is given to emerging studies in coevolutionary and in therapeutic settings.
We present a detailed analysis of the genome architecture, structural proteome and infection-related properties of three Pseudomonas phages, designated LUZ7, LIT1 and PEV2. These podoviruses encapsulate 72.5 to 74.9 kb genomes and lyse their host after 25 min aerobic infection. PEV2 can successfully infect under anaerobic conditions, but its latent period is tripled, the lysis proceeds far slower and the burst size decreases significantly. While the overall genome structure of these phages resembles the well-studied coliphage N4, these Pseudomonas phages encode a cluster of tail genes which displays significant similarity to a Pseudomonasaeruginosa (cryptic) prophage region. Using ESI-MS/MS, these tail proteins were shown to be part of the phage particle, as well as ten other proteins including a giant 370 kDa virion RNA polymerase. These phages are the first described representatives of a novel kind of obligatory lytic P. aeruginosa-infecting phages, belonging to the widespread "N4-like viruses" genus.
We examined the genetic diversity of lytic Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage PB1 and four closely related phages (LBL3, LMA2, 14-1 and SN) isolated throughout Europe. They all encapsulate linear, non-permuted genomes between 64 427 and 66 530 bp within a solid, acid-resistant isometric capsid (diameter: 74 nm) and carry non-flexible, contractile tails of approximately 140 nm. The genomes are organized into at least seven transcriptional blocks, alternating on both strands, and encode between 88 (LBL3) and 95 (LMA2) proteins. Their virion particles are composed of at least 22 different proteins, which were identified using mass spectrometry. Post-translational modifications were suggested for two proteins, and a frameshift hotspot was identified within ORF42, encoding a structural protein. Despite large temporal and spatial separations between phage isolations, very high sequence similarity and limited horizontal gene transfer were found between the individual viruses. These PB1-like viruses constitute a new genus of environmentally very widespread phages within the Myoviridae.
Giant bacteriophages phiKZ and EL of Pseudomonas aeruginosa contain 62 and 64 structural proteins, respectively, identified by ESI-MS/MS on total virion particle proteins. These identifications verify gene predictions and delineate the genomic regions dedicated to phage assembly and capsid formation (30 proteins were identified from a tailless phiKZ mutant). These data form the basis for future structural studies and provide insights into the relatedness of these large phages. The phiKZ structural proteome strongly correlates to that of Pseudomonas chlororaphis bacteriophage 201phi2-1. Phage EL is more distantly related, shown by its 26 non-conserved structural proteins and the presence of genomic inversions.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage phiKMV requires type IV pili for infection, as observed from the phenotypic characterization and phage adsorption assays on a phage infection-resistant host strain mutant. A cosmid clone library of the host (P. aeruginosa PAO1) genomic DNA was generated and used to select for a clone that was able to restore phiKMV infection in the resistant mutant. This complementing cosmid also re-established type IV pili-dependent twitching motility. The correlation between bacteriophage phiKMV infectivity and type IV pili, along with its associated twitching motility, was confirmed by the resistance of a P. aeruginosa PAO1DeltapilA mutant to the phage. Subcloning of the complementing cosmid and further phage infection analysis and motility assays suggests that a common regulatory mechanism and/or interaction between the ponA and pilMNOPQ gene products are essential for bacteriophage phiKMV infectivity.
The "phiKMV-like viruses" comprise an important genus of T7 related phages infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The genomes of these bacteriophages have localized single-strand interruptions (nicks), a distinguishing genomic trait previously thought to be unique for T5 related coliphages. Analysis of this feature in the newly sequenced phage phikF77 shows all four nicks to be localized on the non-coding DNA strand. They are present with high frequencies within the phage population and are introduced into the phage DNA at late stages of the lytic cycle. The general consensus sequence in the nicks (5-CGACxxxxxCCTAoh pCTCCGG-3) was shown to be common among all phiKMV-related phages.
Current techniques in mass spectrometry (MS) allow sensitive and accurate identification of proteins thanks to the in silico availability of these protein sequences within databases. This chapter provides a short overview of MS techniques used in the identification of phage structural proteins and focuses on an electron spray peptide ionization (ESI-MS/MS) approach to identify the phage structural proteome in a comprehensive and systematic ways. Such analyses provide an experimental examination of structural proteins and confirm genome-based gene predictions.
A collection of 15 newly isolated (bacterio)phages infecting the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa was established to investigate their global diversity and potential in phage therapy. These phages were sampled in 14 different countries traversing four continents, from both natural environments and hospital sewage. They all display unique DNA and protein profiles and cluster morphologically into six groups within the three major families of the Caudovirales. Extensive host range studies on a library of 122 AFLP-genotyped clinical P. aeruginosa strains (of which 49 were newly isolated at the University Hospital of Leuven, Belgium) showed that the phages lysed 87% of the strains. Infection analysis of outer membrane mutants identified 10 phages as type IV pili-dependent. More detailed information about the evolutionary relatedness of the phages was gathered by de novo peptide sequencing of major virion proteins using tandem Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight technology. Applying this technique for the first time to viruses, seven groups of closely related phages were identified without the need of prior knowledge of genome content and/or electron microscopic imaging. This study demonstrates both the epidemic population structure of P. aeruginosa and the global spread of P. aeruginosa phage species, and points at the resistance of two clinically predominant, widespread P. aeruginosa strains against phage attack.
We implemented the Representational Difference Analysis (RDA) screening method to identify genome variations between related bacteriophages without the need for complete genome sequencing. The strategy, optimized on phiKMV and LKD16 and further evaluated on the newly isolated phage LUZ19, is based on three successive rounds of reciprocal RDA, with an increasing driver/tester molar ratio from 100/1 to 750/1. Using three relevant restriction endonucleases, only 4 to 6 sequences per restriction enzyme are necessary to provide sufficient discriminatory information to reveal the major genome variations between phages.
Escherichia coli bacteriophage T7 is a founding member of a large clade of podoviruses encoding a single-subunit RNA polymerase (RNAP). Phages of the family rely on host RNAP for transcription of early viral genes; viral RNAP transcribes non-early viral genes. T7 and its close relatives encode an inhibitor of host RNAP, the gp2 protein. Gp2 is essential for phage development and ensures that host RNAP does not interfere with viral RNAP transcription at late stages of infection. Here, we identify host RNAP inhibitors encoded by a subset of T7 clade phages related to ?KMV phage of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We demonstrate that these proteins are functionally identical to T7 gp2 in vivo and in vitro. The ability of some Pseudomonas phage gp2-like proteins to inhibit RNAP is modulated by N-terminal domains, which are absent from the T7 phage homolog. This finding indicates that Pseudomonas phages may use external or internal cues to initiate inhibition of host RNAP transcription and that gp2-like proteins from these phages may be receptors of these cues.
We report the study of phage AF, the first member of the canonical lambdoid phage group infecting Pseudomonas putida. Its 42.6 kb genome is related to the "epsilon15-like viruses" and the "BPP-1-like viruses", a clade of bacteriophages shaped by extensive horizontal gene transfer. The AF virions display exopolysaccharide (EPS)-degrading activity, which originates from the action of the C-terminal domain of the tail spike (Gp19). This protein shows high similarity to the tail spike of the T7-like P. putida-infecting phage ?15. These unrelated phages have an identical host spectrum and EPS degradation characteristics, designating the C-terminal part of Gp19 as sole determinant for these functions. While intact AF particles have biofilm-degrading properties, Gp19 and non-infectious AF particles do not, emphasizing the role of phage amplification in biofilm degradation.
A total proteome map of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 proteome is presented, generated by a combination of two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and protein identification by mass spectrometry. In total, 1128 spots were visualized, and 181 protein spots were characterized, corresponding to 159 different protein entries. In particular, protein chaperones and enzymes important in energy conversion and amino acid biosynthesis were identified. Spot analysis always resulted in the identification of a single protein, suggesting sufficient spot resolution, although the same protein may be detected in two or more neighboring spots, possibly indicating posttranslational modifications. Comparison to the theoretical proteome revealed an underrepresentation of membrane proteins, though the identified proteins cover all predicted subcellular localizations and all functional classes. These data provide a basis for subsequent comparative studies of the biology and metabolism of P. aeruginosa, aimed at unraveling global regulatory networks.
The bacterium Dickeya solani, an aggressive biovar 3 variant of Dickeya dianthicola, causes rotting and blackleg in potato. To control this pathogen using bacteriophage therapy, we isolated and characterized two closely related and specific bacteriophages, vB_DsoM_LIMEstone1 and vB_DsoM_LIMEstone2. The LIMEstone phages have a T4-related genome organization and share DNA similarity with Salmonella phage ViI. Microbiological and molecular characterization of the phages deemed them suitable and promising for use in phage therapy. The phages reduced disease incidence and severity on potato tubers in laboratory assays. In addition, in a field trial of potato tubers, when infected with Dickeya solani, the experimental phage treatment resulted in a higher yield. These results form the basis for the development of a bacteriophage-based biocontrol of potato plants and tubers as an alternative for the use of antibiotics.
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