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Virology. 2004 Nov 10;329(1):40-52.

Molecular and transcriptional analysis of the temperate lactococcal bacteriophage Tuc2009.

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National Food Biotechnology Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


The genome of bacteriophage Tuc2009 consists of 38347 base pairs on which 57 open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, divided in two oppositely transcribed regions. The leftward-transcribed region harbors three ORFs, two of which are involved in the establishment of lysogeny. The rightward-transcribed region contains 54 ORFs, which are assumed to be required for the lytic life cycle. An exception to the above organization is ORF 10, of unknown function, located within the rightward-transcribed region that has an orientation opposite to the ORFs surrounding it. Transcriptional analysis of the Tuc2009 genome following infection of a sensitive host revealed that most ORFs are transcribed in a sequential manner. ORFs that are presumed to form (part of) the genetic switch along with the superinfection exclusion-encoding gene are transcribed immediately after infection, followed by transcription of the presumed replication region. Subsequent to this, several small transcripts could be identified followed by a single 24-kb transcript. This latter transcript was shown to specify most of the identified structural proteins as well as two proteins required for host lysis. Interestingly, the 24-kb mRNA was shown to undergo splicing through the activity of a type I intron whose removal from the mRNA resulted in the formation of an ORF specifying a major structural protein. Primer extension analysis was employed to identify the 5' ends of mRNA transcripts and the genome and transcriptional data are discussed in relation to other lactococcal bacteriophages.

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