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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 May 14;317(4):1183-8.

Isolation and characterization of the bacteriophage WO from Wolbachia, an arthropod endosymbiont.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Wolbachia is a group of obligate symbiotic bacteria found in many insects and other arthropods. The presence of Wolbachia alters reproduction in the host, but the mechanisms are unknown. Molecular biological studies of Wolbachia have delayed significantly, and one of the reasons is the lack of transformation techniques of this bacterium. In the present study, bacteriophage particles were isolated from Wolbachia for the first time. The purified phage had an isometric head that was approximately 40 nm in diameter and contained linear double-stranded DNA of approximately 20 kbp. Partial sequence information (total of 20,484 bp) revealed that there were 24 open reading frames including a structural gene module, and genes for replication and lysogenic conversion. This bacteriophage is the only known mobile genetic element potentially used for transformation of Wolbachia.

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