Chapter 3 : Bacteriophages and the Bacterial Genome

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This chapter focuses on the doublestranded DNA (dsDNA) phages, and especially on the temperate phages. While virulent phages certainly perform transduction and engage in evolutionary sparring with their hosts and so influence their evolution, the chapter focuses mainly on the complex interactions of temperate phages with their hosts. Bacteriophages may thus have contributed to the current compact nature of bacterial genomes. The approximately 100 currently published bacterial genome complete nucleotide sequences, and about 285 prophages are related to known bacteriophages. Of the more than 280 prophages in the currently sequenced bacterial genomes, only a few are known to be fully functional bacteriophages. There are two rather complex types of genetic entity in which this appears to have happened: the phage tail-like bacteriocins and the gene transfer agents. To date, protection from other phages and disease virulence factors are the lysogenic conversion genes that have been discovered and studied in the laboratory, but this likely reflects their ease of study and the lifestyles of the hosts studied. Our ideas about how bacteriophages have affected the nature of the bacterial chromosome are necessarily based on extrapolations from things we know about bacteriophage biology and from inferences based on the current structure of the bacterial genomes, and not on direct observation of those processes over evolutionary time.

Citation: Casjens S, Hendrix R. 2005. Bacteriophages and the Bacterial Genome, p 39-52. In Higgins N (ed), The Bacterial Chromosome. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817640.ch3
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Generic image for table
Table 1.

Prophages in some completely sequenced bacterial genomes

Citation: Casjens S, Hendrix R. 2005. Bacteriophages and the Bacterial Genome, p 39-52. In Higgins N (ed), The Bacterial Chromosome. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817640.ch3
Generic image for table
Table 2.

Some bacteriophages with genes that affect the interaction of pathogenic bacteria with their eukaryote hosts

Citation: Casjens S, Hendrix R. 2005. Bacteriophages and the Bacterial Genome, p 39-52. In Higgins N (ed), The Bacterial Chromosome. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817640.ch3

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