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J Bacteriol. 2004 Dec;186(24):8276-86.

Comparative genomics of the T4-Like Escherichia coli phage JS98: implications for the evolution of T4 phages.

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  • 1Nestlé Research Center, Nestec Ltd., Vers-chez-les-Blanc, CH-1000 Lausanne 26, Switzerland.


About 130 kb of sequence information was obtained from the coliphage JS98 isolated from the stool of a pediatric diarrhea patient in Bangladesh. The DNA shared up to 81% base pair identity with phage T4. The most conserved regions between JS98 and T4 were the structural genes, but their degree of conservation was not uniform. The head genes showed the highest sequence conservation, followed by the tail, baseplate, and tail fiber genes. Many tail fiber genes shared only protein sequence identity. Except for the insertion of endonuclease genes in T4 and gene 24 duplication in JS98, the structural gene maps of the two phages were colinear. The receptor-recognizing tail fiber proteins gp37 and gp38 were only distantly related to T4, but shared up to 83% amino acid identity to other T6-like phages, suggesting lateral gene transfer. A greater degree of variability was seen between JS98 and T4 over DNA replication and DNA transaction genes. While most of these genes came in the same order and shared up to 76% protein sequence identity, a few rearrangements, insertions, and replacements of genes were observed. Many putative gene insertions in the DNA replication module of T4 were flanked by intron-related endonuclease genes, suggesting mobile DNA elements. A hotspot of genome diversification was located downstream of the DNA polymerase gene 43 and the DNA binding gene 32. Comparative genomics of 100-kb genome sequence revealed that T4-like phages diversify more by the accumulation of point mutations and occasional gene duplication events than by modular exchanges.

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