Chapter 6 : Genetics of Phage Lysis

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Bacteriophages, or simply phages—the viruses that infect bacteria—are the most abundant biological entities on Earth, playing a fundamental role in bacterial ecology and evolution ( ). To survive they need to infect sensitive bacteria, where they replicate and produce new viral particles. An infectious cycle starts with adsorption of the phage particle to the surface of a specific bacterial host, followed by penetration of the phage genome into the cytoplasm. Once inside the host cell, the genetic information carried in the viral genome is responsible for its own replication and for the synthesis of the components to make new phage particles. These newly assembled progeny virions now need to be released into the environment where host bacteria are potentially available for new infection cycles. Except for filamentous bacteriophages, which are released from their hosts without affecting the cell viability ( ), all other phages must lyse the infected bacteria to liberate the virion progeny to the extracellular milieu ( ).

Citation: Pimentel M. 2014. Genetics of Phage Lysis, p 121-133. In Hatfull G, Jacobs W (ed), Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0017-2013
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Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

Schematic representation of the endolysins' targets in the bacterial PG. Proposed 4→3 interpeptide bridges between -DAP and -Ala but also 3→3 -DAP to -DAP bonds in the mycobacterial PG are indicated by dashed lines. NAG, -acetylglucosamine; NAM, -acetylmuramic acid.

Citation: Pimentel M. 2014. Genetics of Phage Lysis, p 121-133. In Hatfull G, Jacobs W (ed), Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0017-2013
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Genetic organization of the Ms6 lysis cassette. Genes are drawn to scale with gene names indicated. Segments of generating the full-length Lysin and the N-terminal truncated version Lysin are indicated separately. The promoter region P is separated from by a leader sequence (L). The arrow indicates direction of the transcription from the promoter region P. indicates the localization of a transcription termination signal. Adapted from reference with permission.

Citation: Pimentel M. 2014. Genetics of Phage Lysis, p 121-133. In Hatfull G, Jacobs W (ed), Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0017-2013
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Figure 3

Model for Ms6 endolysin export. Export of the full-length endolysin (Lysin) is assisted by the chaperone Gp1 through the Sec translocase. Once in the cell wall compartment, it is kept in an inactive state until the holin complex Gp4/Gp5 dissipates the membrane potential. The endolysin activation is schematically represented by the change of the enzyme spherical configuration to a “pacman” shape. Lysin is an N-terminally truncated version of Lysin. (?) indicates that export of this shorter version to the extracytoplasmatic environment is not known. PG, peptidoglycan; CM, cytoplasmic membrane; Cyt, cytoplasm. Adapted from reference with permission.

Citation: Pimentel M. 2014. Genetics of Phage Lysis, p 121-133. In Hatfull G, Jacobs W (ed), Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0017-2013
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Figure 4

Diversity of mycobacteriophage lysis cassettes. The illustration shows representatives of mycobacteriophages with diverse genome organization. Not previously assigned holin-like genes display white bars that represent the number and location of putative TMD coding sequences. Adapted from reference with permission.

Citation: Pimentel M. 2014. Genetics of Phage Lysis, p 121-133. In Hatfull G, Jacobs W (ed), Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0017-2013
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Image of Figure 5
Figure 5

Targets of Ms6 lysis proteins. Schematic representation of the mycobacteria cell envelope, where the target layer of each protein is indicated by an arrow. Arab, arabinan; CM, cytoplasmic membrane; Gal, galactan; LAM, lipoarabinomannan; OM, outer membrane; P, protein; PG, peptidoglycan; PIMs, phosphatidylinositol mannosides; PLs, phospholipids; Po, porin; Pp, periplasm; TDM, trehalose dimycolate; TMM, trehalose monomycolate.

Citation: Pimentel M. 2014. Genetics of Phage Lysis, p 121-133. In Hatfull G, Jacobs W (ed), Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-0017-2013
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