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Plasmid. 2011 Mar;65(2):102-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plasmid.2010.12.004. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

N15: the linear phage-plasmid.

Author information

1
Centre "Bioengineering", Russian Academy of Sciences, Prosp. 60-let Oktiabria, bld. 7-1, Moscow 117312, Russia. nravin@biengi.ac.ru

Abstract

The lambdoid phage N15 of Escherichia coli is very unusual among temperate phages in that its prophage is not integrated into chromosome but is a linear plasmid molecule with covalently closed ends. Upon infection the phage DNA circularises via cohesive ends, then phage-encoded enzyme, protelomerase, cuts at an inverted repeat site and forms hairpin ends (telomeres) of the linear plasmid prophage. Replication of the N15 prophage is initiated at an internally located ori site and proceeds bidirectionally resulting in formation of duplicated telomeres. Then the N15 protelomerase cuts duplicated telomeres generating two linear plasmid molecules with hairpin telomeres. Stable inheritance of the plasmid prophage is ensured by partitioning operon similar to the F factor sop operon. Unlike F sop, the N15 centromere consists of four inverted repeats dispersed in the genome. The multiplicity and dispersion of centromeres are required for efficient partitioning of a linear plasmid. The centromeres are located in N15 genome regions involved in phage replication and control of lysogeny, and binding of partition proteins at these sites regulates these processes. Two N15-related lambdoid Siphoviridae phages, φKO2 in Klebsiella oxytoca and pY54 in Yersinia enterocolitica, also lysogenize their hosts as linear plasmids, as well as Myoviridae marine phages VP882 and VP58.5 in Vibrio parahaemolyticus and ΦHAP-1 in Halomonas aquamarina. The genomes of all these phages contain similar protelomerase genes, lysogeny modules and replication genes, as well as plasmid-partitioning genes, suggesting that these phages may belong to a group diverged from a common ancestor.

PMID:
21185326
DOI:
10.1016/j.plasmid.2010.12.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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