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J Bacteriol. 2007 Jun;189(11):4161-7. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Genome sequence and analysis of a Propionibacterium acnes bacteriophage.

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Skin Research Centre, Institute of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.


Cutaneous propionibacteria are important commensals of human skin and are implicated in a wide range of opportunistic infections. Propionibacterium acnes is also associated with inflammatory acne vulgaris. Bacteriophage PA6 is the first phage of P. acnes to be sequenced and demonstrates a high degree of similarity to many mycobacteriophages both morphologically and genetically. PA6 possesses an icosahedreal head and long noncontractile tail characteristic of the Siphoviridae. The overall genome organization of PA6 resembled that of the temperate mycobacteriophages, although the genome was much smaller, 29,739 bp (48 predicted genes), compared to, for example, 50,550 bp (86 predicted genes) for the Bxb1 genome. PA6 infected only P. acnes and produced clear plaques with turbid centers, but it lacked any obvious genes for lysogeny. The host range of PA6 was restricted to P. acnes, but the phage was able to infect and lyse all P. acnes isolates tested. Sequencing of the PA6 genome makes an important contribution to the study of phage evolution and propionibacterial genetics.

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