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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Dec;38(5):955-70.

Genome organization and characterization of mycobacteriophage Bxb1.

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Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


Mycobacteriophage Bxb1 is a temperate phage of Mycobacterium smegmatis. The morphology of Bxb1 particles is similar to that of mycobacteriophages L5 and D29, although Bxb1 differs from these phages in other respects. First, it is heteroimmune with L5 and efficiently forms plaques on an L5 lysogen. Secondly, it has a different host range and fails to infect slow-growing mycobacteria, using a receptor system that is apparently different from that of L5 and D29. Thirdly, it is the first mycobacteriophage to be described that forms a large prominent halo around plaques on a lawn of M. smegmatis. The sequence of the Bxb1 genome shows that it possesses a similar overall organization to the genomes of L5 and D29 and shares weak but detectable DNA sequence similarity to these phages within the structural genes. However, Bxb1 uses a different system of integration and excision, a repressor with different specificity to that of L5 and encodes a large number of novel gene products including several with enzymatic functions that could degrade or modify the mycobacterial cell wall.

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