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Molecular Characterization of Podoviral Bacteriophages Virulent for Clostridium perfringens and Their Comparison with Members of the Picovirinae

Volozhantsev, Nikolay V., Oakley, Brian B., Morales, Cesar A., Verevkin, Vladimir V., Bannov, Vasily A., Krasilnikova, Valentina M., Popova, Anastasia V., Zhilenkov, Eugeni L., Garrish, Johnna K., Schegg, Kathleen M., Woolsey, Rebekah, Quilici, David R., Line, J. Eric, Hiett, Kelli L., Siragusa, Gregory R., Svetoch, Edward A., Seal, Bruce S., Brown, Earl G.
Clostridium perfringens, DNA-directed DNA polymerase, N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase, Podoviridae, amidase, amino acid sequences, antibiotics, bacteria, bacteriophages, cell walls, drainage water, foodborne illness, genes, humans, mass spectrometry, open reading frames, poultry, sewage, soil, sporulation, structural proteins, terminal repeat sequences, virion, virulence, Russia, United States
Clostridium perfringens is a Gram-positive, spore-forming anaerobic bacterium responsible for human food-borne disease as well as non-food-borne human, animal and poultry diseases. Because bacteriophages or their gene products could be applied to control bacterial diseases in a species-specific manner, they are potential important alternatives to antibiotics. Consequently, poultry intestinal material, soil, sewage and poultry processing drainage water were screened for virulent bacteriophages that lysed C. perfringens . Two bacteriophages, designated ΦCPV4 and ΦZP2, were isolated in the Moscow Region of the Russian Federation while another closely related virus, named ΦCP7R, was isolated in the southeastern USA. The viruses were identified as members of the order Caudovirales in the family Podoviridae with short, non-contractile tails of the C1 morphotype. The genomes of the three bacteriophages were 17.972, 18.078 and 18.397 kbp respectively; encoding twenty-six to twenty-eight ORF's with inverted terminal repeats and an average GC content of 34.6%. Structural proteins identified by mass spectrometry in the purified ΦCP7R virion included a pre-neck/appendage with putative lyase activity, major head, tail, connector/upper collar, lower collar and a structural protein with putative lysozyme-peptidase activity. All three podoviral bacteriophage genomes encoded a predicted N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase and a putative stage V sporulation protein. Each putative amidase contained a predicted bacterial SH3 domain at the C-terminal end of the protein, presumably involved with binding the C. perfringens cell wall. The predicted DNA polymerase type B protein sequences were closely related to other members of the Podoviridae including Bacillus phage Φ29. Whole-genome comparisons supported this relationship, but also indicated that the Russian and USA viruses may be unique members of the sub-family Picovirinae .