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Comparative genomic and morphological analyses of Listeria phages isolated from farm environments.

Denes T., Vongkamjan K., Ackermann H.W., Moreno Switt A.I., Wiedmann M., den Bakker H.C.

The genus Listeria is ubiquitous in the environment and includes the globally important food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. While the genomic diversity of Listeria has been well studied, considerably less is known about the genomic and morphological diversity of Listeria bacteriophages. In this study, we sequenced and analyzed the genomes of 14 Listeria phages isolated mostly from New York dairy farm environments as well as one related Enterococcus faecalis phage to obtain information on genome characteristics and diversity. We also examined 12 of the phages by electron microscopy to characterize their morphology. These Listeria phages, based on gene orthology and morphology, together with previously sequenced Listeria phages could be classified into five orthoclusters, including one novel orthocluster. One orthocluster (orthocluster I) consists of large genome (~135-kb) myoviruses belonging to the genus “Twort-like viruses,” three orthoclusters (orthoclusters II to IV) contain small-genome (36-to 43-kb) siphoviruses with icosahedral heads, and the novel orthocluster V contains medium-sized-genome (~66-kb) siphoviruses with elongated heads. A novel orthocluster (orthocluster VI) of E. faecalis phages, with medium-sized genomes (~56 kb), was identified, which grouped together and shares morphological features with the novel Listeria phage orthocluster V. This new group of phages (i.e., orthoclusters V and VI) is composed of putative lytic phages that may prove to be useful in phage-based applications for biocontrol, detection, and therapeutic purposes.

Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 80:4616-4625(2014) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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