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Special Issue "Viruses of Microbes"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Tessa E.F. Quax

University Freiburg, Institute for Biology II - Microbiology Molecular Biology of Archaea, Schänzlestrasse 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
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Interests: archaeal viruses; molecular biology of archaea; archaeal membrane biology
Guest Editor
Dr. Matthias G. Fischer

Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
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Interests: giant DNA viruses; virophages; protist viruses; virus-host interactions; virus evolution
Guest Editor
Dr. Laurent Debarbieux

Department of Microbiology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: bacteriophage biology; bacteriophage-host interactions; phage therapy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The International Society for Viruses of Microbes (ISVM) represents large scientific community studying viruses of archaea, bacteria, protists and fungi. One of its activities is a biannual multidisciplinary meeting, which covers the full range of current developments in the field of viruses of microbes, from structural biology to ecology and from fundamental to applied research.

In the Viruses of Microbes Special Issues published in Viruses, we hope to collect series of research articles which will reflect the full diversity of this field with current and future trends of fundamental and applied research.

Dr. Tessa E.F. Quax
Dr. Matthias G. Fischer
Dr. Laurent Debarbieux
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biology of microbial viruses
  • Virus host interactions
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Applications of viruses (biotechnology and medical)

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle DNA-Interacting Characteristics of the Archaeal Rudiviral Protein SIRV2_Gp1
Viruses 2017, 9(7), 190; doi:10.3390/v9070190
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
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Abstract
Whereas the infection cycles of many bacterial and eukaryotic viruses have been characterized in detail, those of archaeal viruses remain largely unexplored. Recently, studies on a few model archaeal viruses such as SIRV2 (Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped virus) have revealed an unusual lysis mechanism
[...] Read more.
Whereas the infection cycles of many bacterial and eukaryotic viruses have been characterized in detail, those of archaeal viruses remain largely unexplored. Recently, studies on a few model archaeal viruses such as SIRV2 (Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped virus) have revealed an unusual lysis mechanism that involves the formation of pyramidal egress structures on the host cell surface. To expand understanding of the infection cycle of SIRV2, we aimed to functionally characterize gp1, which is a SIRV2 gene with unknown function. The SIRV2_Gp1 protein is highly expressed during early stages of infection and it is the only protein that is encoded twice on the viral genome. It harbours a helix-turn-helix motif and was therefore hypothesized to bind DNA. The DNA-binding behavior of SIRV2_Gp1 was characterized with electrophoretic mobility shift assays and atomic force microscopy. We provide evidence that the protein interacts with DNA and that it forms large aggregates, thereby causing extreme condensation of the DNA. Furthermore, the N-terminal domain of the protein mediates toxicity to the viral host Sulfolobus. Our findings may lead to biotechnological applications, such as the development of a toxic peptide for the containment of pathogenic bacteria, and add to our understanding of the Rudiviral infection cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Crystal Structure of the Carboxy-Terminal Region of the Bacteriophage T4 Proximal Long Tail Fiber Protein Gp34
Viruses 2017, 9(7), 168; doi:10.3390/v9070168
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Long tail fibers of bacteriophage T4 are formed by proteins gp34, gp35, gp36, and gp37, with gp34 located at the phage-proximal end and gp37 at the phage-distal, receptor-binding end. We have solved the structure of the carboxy-terminal region of gp34, consisting of amino
[...] Read more.
Long tail fibers of bacteriophage T4 are formed by proteins gp34, gp35, gp36, and gp37, with gp34 located at the phage-proximal end and gp37 at the phage-distal, receptor-binding end. We have solved the structure of the carboxy-terminal region of gp34, consisting of amino acids 894–1289, by single-wavelength anomalous diffraction and extended the structure to amino acids 744–1289 using data collected from crystals containing longer gp34-fragments. The structure reveals three repeats of a mixed α-β fibrous domain in residues 744 to 877. A triple-helical neck connects to an extended triple β-helix domain (amino acids 900–1127) punctuated by two β-prism domains. Next, a β-prism domain decorated with short helices and extended β-helices is present (residues 1146–1238), while the C-terminal end is capped with another short β-helical region and three β-hairpins. The structure provides insight into the stability of the fibrous gp34 protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Sinorhizobium sp. LM21 Prophages and Virus-Encoded DNA Methyltransferases in the Light of Comparative Genomic Analyses of the Sinorhizobial Virome
Viruses 2017, 9(7), 161; doi:10.3390/v9070161
Received: 23 April 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
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Abstract
The genus Sinorhizobium/Ensifer mostly groups nitrogen-fixing bacteria that create root or stem nodules on leguminous plants and transform atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which improves the productivity of the plants. Although these biotechnologically-important bacteria are commonly found in various soil environments, little is known
[...] Read more.
The genus Sinorhizobium/Ensifer mostly groups nitrogen-fixing bacteria that create root or stem nodules on leguminous plants and transform atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which improves the productivity of the plants. Although these biotechnologically-important bacteria are commonly found in various soil environments, little is known about their phages. In this study, the genome of Sinorhizobium sp. LM21 isolated from a heavy-metal-contaminated copper mine in Poland was investigated for the presence of prophages and DNA methyltransferase-encoding genes. In addition to the previously identified temperate phage, ΦLM21, and the phage-plasmid, pLM21S1, the analysis revealed the presence of three prophage regions. Moreover, four novel phage-encoded DNA methyltransferase (MTase) genes were identified and the enzymes were characterized. It was shown that two of the identified viral MTases methylated the same target sequence (GANTC) as cell cycle-regulated methyltransferase (CcrM) of the bacterial host strain, LM21. This discovery was recognized as an example of the evolutionary convergence between enzymes of sinorhizobial viruses and their host, which may play an important role in virus cycle. In the last part of the study, thorough comparative analyses of 31 sinorhizobial (pro)phages (including active sinorhizobial phages and novel putative prophages retrieved and manually re-annotated from Sinorhizobium spp. genomes) were performed. The networking analysis revealed the presence of highly conserved proteins (e.g., holins and endolysins) and a high diversity of viral integrases. The analysis also revealed a large number of viral DNA MTases, whose genes were frequently located within the predicted replication modules of analyzed prophages, which may suggest their important regulatory role. Summarizing, complex analysis of the phage protein similarity network enabled a new insight into overall sinorhizobial virome diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Bacillus subtilis Viruses vB_BsuM-Goe2 and vB_BsuM-Goe3
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 146; doi:10.3390/v9060146
Received: 27 March 2017 / Revised: 1 June 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 12 June 2017
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Abstract
The Spounavirinae viruses are ubiquitous in nature and have an obligatory virulent lifestyle. They infect Firmicutes, a bacterial phylum containing an array of environmental non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms. To expand the knowledge of this viral subfamily, new strains were isolated and investigated
[...] Read more.
The Spounavirinae viruses are ubiquitous in nature and have an obligatory virulent lifestyle. They infect Firmicutes, a bacterial phylum containing an array of environmental non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms. To expand the knowledge of this viral subfamily, new strains were isolated and investigated in this study. Here we present two new viruses, vB_BsuM-Goe2 and vB_BsuM-Goe3, isolated from raw sewage and infecting Bacillus species. Both were morphologically classified via transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as members of the Spounavirinae subfamily belonging to the Myoviridae family. Genomic sequencing and analyses allowed further affiliation of vB_BsuM-Goe2 to the SPO1-like virus group and vB_BsuM-Goe3 to the Bastille-like virus group. Experimentally determined adsorption constant, latency period, burst size and host range for both viruses revealed different survival strategies. Thus vB_BsuM-Goe2 seemed to rely on fewer host species compared to vB_BsuM-Goe3, but efficiently recruits those. Stability tests pointed out that both viruses are best preserved in LB-medium or TMK-buffer at 4 or 21 °C, whereas cryopreservation strongly reduced viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Highly Sensitive Bacteriophage-Based Detection of Brucella abortus in Mixed Culture and Spiked Blood
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 144; doi:10.3390/v9060144
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 25 May 2017 / Accepted: 6 June 2017 / Published: 10 June 2017
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Abstract
For decades, bacteriophages (phages) have been used for Brucella species identification in the diagnosis and epidemiology of brucellosis. Traditional Brucella phage typing is a multi-day procedure including the isolation of a pure culture, a step that can take up to three weeks. In
[...] Read more.
For decades, bacteriophages (phages) have been used for Brucella species identification in the diagnosis and epidemiology of brucellosis. Traditional Brucella phage typing is a multi-day procedure including the isolation of a pure culture, a step that can take up to three weeks. In this study, we focused on the use of brucellaphages for sensitive detection of the pathogen in clinical and other complex samples, and developed an indirect method of Brucella detection using real-time quantitative PCR monitoring of brucellaphage DNA amplification via replication on live Brucella cells. This assay allowed the detection of single bacteria (down to 1 colony-forming unit per milliliter) within 72 h without DNA extraction and purification steps. The technique was equally efficient with Brucella abortus pure culture and with mixed cultures of B. abortus and α-proteobacterial near neighbors that can be misidentified as Brucella spp., Ochrobactrum anthropi and Afipia felis. The addition of a simple short sample preparation step enabled the indirect phage-based detection of B. abortus in spiked blood, with the same high sensitivity. This indirect phage-based detection assay enables the rapid and sensitive detection of live B. abortus in mixed cultures and in blood samples, and can potentially be applied for detection in other clinical samples and other complex sample types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Bacterial Virus Ontology; Coordinating across Databases
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 126; doi:10.3390/v9060126
Received: 13 April 2017 / Revised: 16 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 23 May 2017
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Abstract
Bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophages, display a great genetic diversity and utilize unique processes for infecting and reproducing within a host cell. All these processes were investigated and indexed in the ViralZone knowledge base. To facilitate standardizing data, a simple ontology of viral
[...] Read more.
Bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophages, display a great genetic diversity and utilize unique processes for infecting and reproducing within a host cell. All these processes were investigated and indexed in the ViralZone knowledge base. To facilitate standardizing data, a simple ontology of viral life-cycle terms was developed to provide a common vocabulary for annotating data sets. New terminology was developed to address unique viral replication cycle processes, and existing terminology was modified and adapted. Classically, the viral life-cycle is described by schematic pictures. Using this ontology, it can be represented by a combination of successive events: entry, latency, transcription/replication, host–virus interactions and virus release. Each of these parts is broken down into discrete steps. For example enterobacteria phage lambda entry is broken down in: viral attachment to host adhesion receptor, viral attachment to host entry receptor, viral genome ejection and viral genome circularization. To demonstrate the utility of a standard ontology for virus biology, this work was completed by annotating virus data in the ViralZone, UniProtKB and Gene Ontology databases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Variation in the Genetic Repertoire of Viruses Infecting Micromonas pusilla Reflects Horizontal Gene Transfer and Links to Their Environmental Distribution
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 116; doi:10.3390/v9050116
Received: 4 April 2017 / Revised: 8 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
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Abstract
Prasinophytes, a group of eukaryotic phytoplankton, has a global distribution and is infected by large double-stranded DNA viruses (prasinoviruses) in the family Phycodnaviridae. This study examines the genetic repertoire, phylogeny, and environmental distribution of phycodnaviruses infecting Micromonas pusilla, other prasinophytes and
[...] Read more.
Prasinophytes, a group of eukaryotic phytoplankton, has a global distribution and is infected by large double-stranded DNA viruses (prasinoviruses) in the family Phycodnaviridae. This study examines the genetic repertoire, phylogeny, and environmental distribution of phycodnaviruses infecting Micromonas pusilla, other prasinophytes and chlorophytes. Based on comparisons among the genomes of viruses infecting M. pusilla and other phycodnaviruses, as well as the genome from a host isolate of M. pusilla, viruses infecting M. pusilla (MpVs) share a limited set of core genes, but vary strongly in their flexible pan-genome that includes numerous metabolic genes, such as those associated with amino acid synthesis and sugar manipulation. Surprisingly, few of these presumably host-derived genes are shared with M. pusilla, but rather have their closest non-viral homologue in bacteria and other eukaryotes, indicating horizontal gene transfer. A comparative analysis of full-length DNA polymerase (DNApol) genes from prasinoviruses with their overall gene content, demonstrated that the phylogeny of DNApol gene fragments reflects the gene content of the viruses; hence, environmental DNApol gene sequences from prasinoviruses can be used to infer their overall genetic repertoire. Thus, the distribution of virus ecotypes across environmental samples based on DNApol sequences implies substantial underlying differences in gene content that reflect local environmental conditions. Moreover, the high diversity observed in the genetic repertoire of prasinoviruses has been driven by horizontal gene transfer throughout their evolutionary history, resulting in a broad suite of functional capabilities and a high diversity of prasinovirus ecotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Differentiation and Structure in Sulfolobus islandicus Rod-Shaped Virus Populations
Viruses 2017, 9(5), 120; doi:10.3390/v9050120
Received: 17 March 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
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Abstract
In the past decade, molecular surveys of viral diversity have revealed that viruses are the most diverse and abundant biological entities on Earth. In culture, however, most viral isolates that infect microbes are represented by a few variants isolated on type strains, limiting
[...] Read more.
In the past decade, molecular surveys of viral diversity have revealed that viruses are the most diverse and abundant biological entities on Earth. In culture, however, most viral isolates that infect microbes are represented by a few variants isolated on type strains, limiting our ability to study how natural variation affects virus-host interactions in the laboratory. We screened a set of 137 hot spring samples for viruses that infect a geographically diverse panel of the hyperthemophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus islandicus. We isolated and characterized eight SIRVs (Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped viruses) from two different regions within Yellowstone National Park (USA). Comparative genomics revealed that all SIRV sequenced isolates share 30 core genes that represent 50–60% of the genome. The core genome phylogeny, as well as the distribution of variable genes (shared by some but not all SIRVs) and the signatures of host-virus interactions recorded on the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) repeat-spacer arrays of S. islandicus hosts, identify different SIRV lineages, each associated with a different geographic location. Moreover, our studies reveal that SIRV core genes do not appear to be under diversifying selection and thus we predict that the abundant and diverse variable genes govern the coevolutionary arms race between SIRVs and their hosts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle The Transmembrane Morphogenesis Protein gp1 of Filamentous Phages Contains Walker A and Walker B Motifs Essential for Phage Assembly
Viruses 2017, 9(4), 73; doi:10.3390/v9040073
Received: 8 February 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 4 April 2017 / Published: 9 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In contrast to lytic phages, filamentous phages are assembled in the inner membrane and secreted across the bacterial envelope without killing the host. For assembly and extrusion of the phage across the host cell wall, filamentous phages code for membrane-embedded morphogenesis proteins. In
[...] Read more.
In contrast to lytic phages, filamentous phages are assembled in the inner membrane and secreted across the bacterial envelope without killing the host. For assembly and extrusion of the phage across the host cell wall, filamentous phages code for membrane-embedded morphogenesis proteins. In the outer membrane of Escherichia coli, the protein gp4 forms a pore-like structure, while gp1 and gp11 form a complex in the inner membrane of the host. By comparing sequences with other filamentous phages, we identified putative Walker A and B motifs in gp1 with a conserved lysine in the Walker A motif (K14), and a glutamic and aspartic acid in the Walker B motif (D88, E89). In this work we demonstrate that both, Walker A and Walker B, are essential for phage production. The crucial role of these key residues suggests that gp1 might be a molecular motor driving phage assembly. We further identified essential residues for the function of the assembly complex. Mutations in three out of six cysteine residues abolish phage production. Similarly, two out of six conserved glycine residues are crucial for gp1 function. We hypothesise that the residues represent molecular hinges allowing domain movement for nucleotide binding and phage assembly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessCommunication How to Name and Classify Your Phage: An Informal Guide
Viruses 2017, 9(4), 70; doi:10.3390/v9040070
Received: 24 February 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 3 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With this informal guide, we try to assist both new and experienced phage researchers through two important stages that follow phage discovery; that is, naming and classification. Providing an appropriate name for a bacteriophage is not as trivial as it sounds, and the
[...] Read more.
With this informal guide, we try to assist both new and experienced phage researchers through two important stages that follow phage discovery; that is, naming and classification. Providing an appropriate name for a bacteriophage is not as trivial as it sounds, and the effects might be long-lasting in databases and in official taxon names. Phage classification is the responsibility of the Bacterial and Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee (BAVS) of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). While the BAVS aims at providing a holistic approach to phage taxonomy, for individual researchers who have isolated and sequenced a new phage, this can be a little overwhelming. We are now providing these researchers with an informal guide to phage naming and classification, taking a “bottom-up” approach from the phage isolate level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Phage Biodiversity in Artisanal Cheese Wheys Reflects the Complexity of the Fermentation Process
Viruses 2017, 9(3), 45; doi:10.3390/v9030045
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1186 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Dairy fermentations constitute a perfect “breeding ground” for bacteriophages infecting starter cultures, particularly strains of Lactococcus lactis. In modern fermentations, these phages typically belong to one of three groups, i.e., the 936, P335, and c2 phage groups. Traditional production methods present fewer chemical
[...] Read more.
Dairy fermentations constitute a perfect “breeding ground” for bacteriophages infecting starter cultures, particularly strains of Lactococcus lactis. In modern fermentations, these phages typically belong to one of three groups, i.e., the 936, P335, and c2 phage groups. Traditional production methods present fewer chemical and physical barriers to phage proliferation compared to modern production systems, while the starter cultures used are typically complex, variable, and undefined. In the current study, a variety of cheese whey, animal-derived rennet, and vat swab samples from artisanal cheeses produced in Sicily were analysed for the presence of lactococcal phages to assess phage diversity in such environments. The complete genomes of 18 representative phage isolates were sequenced, allowing the identification of 10 lactococcal 949 group phages, six P087 group phages, and two members of the 936 group phages. The genetic diversity of these isolates was examined using phylogenetic analysis as well as a focused analysis of the receptor binding proteins, which dictate specific interactions with the host-encoded receptor. Thermal treatments at 63 °C and 83 °C indicate that the 949 phages are particularly sensitive to thermal treatments, followed by the P087 and 936 isolates, which were shown to be much less sensitive to such treatments. This difference may explain the relatively low frequency of isolation of the so-called “rare” 949 and P087 group phages in modern fermentations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Capsule-Targeting Depolymerase, Derived from Klebsiella KP36 Phage, as a Tool for the Development of Anti-Virulent Strategy
Viruses 2016, 8(12), 324; doi:10.3390/v8120324
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 17 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 1 December 2016
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Abstract
The rise of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, a leading nosocomial pathogen, prompts the need for alternative therapies. We have identified and characterized a novel depolymerase enzyme encoded by Klebsiella phage KP36 (depoKP36), from the Siphoviridae family. To gain insights into the catalytic and
[...] Read more.
The rise of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, a leading nosocomial pathogen, prompts the need for alternative therapies. We have identified and characterized a novel depolymerase enzyme encoded by Klebsiella phage KP36 (depoKP36), from the Siphoviridae family. To gain insights into the catalytic and structural features of depoKP36, we have recombinantly produced this protein of 93.4 kDa and showed that it is able to hydrolyze a crude exopolysaccharide of a K. pneumoniae host. Using in vitro and in vivo assays, we found that depoKP36 was also effective against a native capsule of clinical K. pneumoniae strains, representing the K63 type, and significantly inhibited Klebsiella-induced mortality of Galleria mellonella larvae in a time-dependent manner. DepoKP36 did not affect the antibiotic susceptibility of Klebsiella strains. The activity of this enzyme was retained in a broad range of pH values (4.0–7.0) and temperatures (up to 45 °C). Consistently, the circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy revealed a highly stability with melting transition temperature (Tm) = 65 °C. In contrast to other phage tailspike proteins, this enzyme was susceptible to sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) denaturation and proteolytic cleavage. The structural studies in solution showed a trimeric arrangement with a high β-sheet content. Our findings identify depoKP36 as a suitable candidate for the development of new treatments for K. pneumoniae infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle Two Novel Myoviruses from the North of Iraq Reveal Insights into Clostridium difficile Phage Diversity and Biology
Viruses 2016, 8(11), 310; doi:10.3390/v8110310
Received: 23 September 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6501 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Bacteriophages (phages) are increasingly being explored as therapeutic agents to combat bacterial diseases, including Clostridium difficile infections. Therapeutic phages need to be able to efficiently target and kill a wide range of clinically relevant strains. While many phage groups have yet to be
[...] Read more.
Bacteriophages (phages) are increasingly being explored as therapeutic agents to combat bacterial diseases, including Clostridium difficile infections. Therapeutic phages need to be able to efficiently target and kill a wide range of clinically relevant strains. While many phage groups have yet to be investigated in detail, those with new and useful properties can potentially be identified when phages from newly studied geographies are characterised. Here, we report the isolation of C. difficile phages from soil samples from the north of Iraq. Two myoviruses, CDKM15 and CDKM9, were selected for detailed sequence analysis on the basis of their broad and potentially useful host range. CDKM9 infects 25/80 strains from 12/20 C. difficile ribotypes, and CDKM15 infects 20/80 strains from 9/20 ribotypes. Both phages can infect the clinically relevant ribotypes R027 and R001. Phylogenetic analysis based on whole genome sequencing revealed that the phages are genetically distinct from each other but closely related to other long-tailed myoviruses. A comparative genomic analysis revealed key differences in the genes predicted to encode for proteins involved in bacterial infection. Notably, CDKM15 carries a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) array with spacers that are homologous to sequences in the CDKM9 genome and of phages from diverse localities. The findings presented suggest a possible shared evolutionary past for these phages and provides evidence of their widespread dispersal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Phage-Phagocyte Interactions and Their Implications for Phage Application as Therapeutics
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 150; doi:10.3390/v9060150
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 14 June 2017
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Abstract
Phagocytes are the main component of innate immunity. They remove pathogens and particles from organisms using their bactericidal tools in the form of both reactive oxygen species and degrading enzymes—contained in granules—that are potentially toxic proteins. Therefore, it is important to investigate the
[...] Read more.
Phagocytes are the main component of innate immunity. They remove pathogens and particles from organisms using their bactericidal tools in the form of both reactive oxygen species and degrading enzymes—contained in granules—that are potentially toxic proteins. Therefore, it is important to investigate the possible interactions between phages and immune cells and avoid any phage side effects on them. Recent progress in knowledge concerning the influence of phages on phagocytes is also important as such interactions may shape the immune response. In this review we have summarized the current knowledge on phage interactions with phagocytes described so far and their potential implications for phage therapy. The data suggesting that phage do not downregulate important phagocyte functions are especially relevant for the concept of phage therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessReview The Human Gut Phage Community and Its Implications for Health and Disease
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 141; doi:10.3390/v9060141
Received: 20 April 2017 / Revised: 23 May 2017 / Accepted: 2 June 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
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Abstract
In this review, we assess our current understanding of the role of bacteriophages infecting the human gut bacterial community in health and disease. In general, bacteriophages contribute to the structure of their microbial communities by driving host and viral diversification, bacterial evolution, and
[...] Read more.
In this review, we assess our current understanding of the role of bacteriophages infecting the human gut bacterial community in health and disease. In general, bacteriophages contribute to the structure of their microbial communities by driving host and viral diversification, bacterial evolution, and by expanding the functional diversity of ecosystems. Gut bacteriophages are an ensemble of unique and shared phages in individuals, which encompass temperate phages found predominately as prophage in gut bacteria (prophage reservoir) and lytic phages. In healthy individuals, only a small fraction of the prophage reservoir is activated and found as extracellular phages. Phage community dysbiosis is characterized by a shift in the activated prophage community or an increase of lytic phages, and has been correlated with disease, suggesting that a proper balance between lysis and lysogeny is needed to maintain health. Consequently, the concept of microbial dysbiosis might be extended to the phage component of the microbiome as well. Understanding the dynamics and mechanisms to restore balance after dysbiosis is an active area of research. The use of phage transplants to re-establish health suggests that phages can be used as disease treatment. Such advances represent milestones in our understanding of gut phages in human health and should fuel research on their role in health and disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessReview Metagenomic Approaches to Assess Bacteriophages in Various Environmental Niches
Viruses 2017, 9(6), 127; doi:10.3390/v9060127
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 19 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1646 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bacteriophages are ubiquitous and numerous parasites of bacteria and play a critical evolutionary role in virtually every ecosystem, yet our understanding of the extent of the diversity and role of phages remains inadequate for many ecological niches, particularly in cases in which the
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Bacteriophages are ubiquitous and numerous parasites of bacteria and play a critical evolutionary role in virtually every ecosystem, yet our understanding of the extent of the diversity and role of phages remains inadequate for many ecological niches, particularly in cases in which the host is unculturable. During the past 15 years, the emergence of the field of viral metagenomics has drastically enhanced our ability to analyse the so-called viral ‘dark matter’ of the biosphere. Here, we review the evolution of viral metagenomic methodologies, as well as providing an overview of some of the most significant applications and findings in this field of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Chloroviruses Have a Sweet Tooth
Viruses 2017, 9(4), 88; doi:10.3390/v9040088
Received: 17 March 2017 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
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Abstract
Chloroviruses are large double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that infect certain isolates of chlorella-like green algae. They contain up to approximately 400 protein-encoding genes and 16 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes. This review summarizes the unexpected finding that many of the chlorovirus genes encode proteins
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Chloroviruses are large double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that infect certain isolates of chlorella-like green algae. They contain up to approximately 400 protein-encoding genes and 16 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes. This review summarizes the unexpected finding that many of the chlorovirus genes encode proteins involved in manipulating carbohydrates. These include enzymes involved in making extracellular polysaccharides, such as hyaluronan and chitin, enzymes that make nucleotide sugars, such as GDP-L-fucose and GDP-D-rhamnose and enzymes involved in the synthesis of glycans attached to the virus major capsid proteins. This latter process differs from that of all other glycoprotein containing viruses that traditionally use the host endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi machinery to synthesize and transfer the glycans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessReview HCIV-1 and Other Tailless Icosahedral Internal Membrane-Containing Viruses of the Family Sphaerolipoviridae
Viruses 2017, 9(2), 32; doi:10.3390/v9020032
Received: 10 January 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Members of the virus family Sphaerolipoviridae include both archaeal viruses and bacteriophages that possess a tailless icosahedral capsid with an internal membrane. The genera Alpha- and Betasphaerolipovirus comprise viruses that infect halophilic euryarchaea, whereas viruses of thermophilic Thermus bacteria belong to the genus
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Members of the virus family Sphaerolipoviridae include both archaeal viruses and bacteriophages that possess a tailless icosahedral capsid with an internal membrane. The genera Alpha- and Betasphaerolipovirus comprise viruses that infect halophilic euryarchaea, whereas viruses of thermophilic Thermus bacteria belong to the genus Gammasphaerolipovirus. Both sequence-based and structural clustering of the major capsid proteins and ATPases of sphaerolipoviruses yield three distinct clades corresponding to these three genera. Conserved virion architectural principles observed in sphaerolipoviruses suggest that these viruses belong to the PRD1-adenovirus structural lineage. Here we focus on archaeal alphasphaerolipoviruses and their related putative proviruses. The highest sequence similarities among alphasphaerolipoviruses are observed in the core structural elements of their virions: the two major capsid proteins, the major membrane protein, and a putative packaging ATPase. A recently described tailless icosahedral haloarchaeal virus, Haloarcula californiae icosahedral virus 1 (HCIV-1), has a double-stranded DNA genome and an internal membrane lining the capsid. HCIV-1 shares significant similarities with the other tailless icosahedral internal membrane-containing haloarchaeal viruses of the family Sphaerolipoviridae. The proposal to include a new virus species, Haloarcula virus HCIV1, into the genus Alphasphaerolipovirus was submitted to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) in 2016. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessConference Report “French Phage Network”—Second Meeting Report
Viruses 2017, 9(4), 87; doi:10.3390/v9040087
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
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Abstract
The study of bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria) includes a variety of approaches, such as structural biology, genetics, ecology, and evolution, with increasingly important implications for therapeutic and industrial uses. Researchers working with phages in France have recently established a network to facilitate the
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The study of bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria) includes a variety of approaches, such as structural biology, genetics, ecology, and evolution, with increasingly important implications for therapeutic and industrial uses. Researchers working with phages in France have recently established a network to facilitate the exchange on complementary approaches, but also to engage new collaborations. Here, we provide a summary of the topics presented during the second meeting of the French Phage Network that took place in Marseille in November 2016 Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes)
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