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J Bacteriol. 2005 May;187(9):3188-200.

The genome of S-PM2, a "photosynthetic" T4-type bacteriophage that infects marine Synechococcus strains.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.


Bacteriophage S-PM2 infects several strains of the abundant and ecologically important marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus. A large lytic phage with an isometric icosahedral head, S-PM2 has a contractile tail and by this criterion is classified as a myovirus (1). The linear, circularly permuted, 196,280-bp double-stranded DNA genome of S-PM2 contains 37.8% G+C residues. It encodes 239 open reading frames (ORFs) and 25 tRNAs. Of these ORFs, 19 appear to encode proteins associated with the cell envelope, including a putative S-layer-associated protein. Twenty additional S-PM2 ORFs have homologues in the genomes of their cyanobacterial hosts. There is a group I self-splicing intron within the gene encoding the D1 protein. A total of 40 ORFs, organized into discrete clusters, encode homologues of T4 proteins involved in virion morphogenesis, nucleotide metabolism, gene regulation, and DNA replication and repair. The S-PM2 genome encodes a few surprisingly large (e.g., 3,779 amino acids) ORFs of unknown function. Our analysis of the S-PM2 genome suggests that many of the unknown S-PM2 functions may be involved in the adaptation of the metabolism of the host cell to the requirements of phage infection. This hypothesis originates from the identification of multiple phage-mediated modifications of the host's photosynthetic apparatus that appear to be essential for maintaining energy production during the lytic cycle.

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