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Mur-LH, the broad-spectrum endolysin of Lactobacillus helveticus temperate bacteriophage phi-0303

Deutsch, S.M., Guezenec, S., Piot, M., Foster, S., Lortal, S.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2004 v.70 no.1 pp. 96-103
Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus, cultured milk starters, bacteriophages, infection, host range, hydro-lyases, structural genes, nucleotide sequences, amino acid sequences, enzyme activity, cytolysis, open reading frames, molecular weight, hydrolysis, cell walls, food microbiology
phi-0303 is a temperate bacteriophage isolated from Lactobacillus helveticus CNRZ 303 strain after mitomycin C induction. In this work, the gene coding for a lytic protein of this bacteriophage was cloned using a library of phi-0303 in Escherichia coli DH5. The lytic activity was detected by its expression, using whole cells of the sensitive strain L. helveticus CNRZ 892 as the substrate. The lysin gene was within a 4.1-kb DNA fragment of phi-0303 containing six open reading frames (ORFs) and two truncated ORFs. No sequence homology with holin genes was found within the cloned fragment. An integrase-encoding gene was also present in the fragment, but it was transcribed in a direction opposite that of the lysin gene. The lysin-encoding lys gene was verified by PCR amplification from the total phage DNA and subcloned. The lys gene is a 1,122-bp sequence encoding a protein of 373 amino acids (Mur-LH), whose product had a deduced molecular mass of 40,207 Da. Comparisons with sequences in sequence databases showed homology with numerous endolysins of other bacteriophages. Mur-LH was expressed in E. coli BL21, and by renaturing sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with L. helveticus CNRZ 892 as the substrate, the recombinant protein showed an apparent molecular mass of 40 kDa. The N-terminal sequence of the protein confirmed the start codon. Hydrolysis of cell walls of L. helveticus CNRZ 303 by the endolysin and biochemical analysis of the residues produced demonstrated that Mur-LH has N-acetylmuramidase activity. Last, the endolysin exhibited a broad spectrum of lytic activity, as it was active on different species, mainly thermophilic lactobacilli but also lactococci, pediococci, Bacillus subtilis, Brevibacterium linens, and Enterococcus faecium.