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J Bacteriol. 2011 Jun;193(11):2793-803. doi: 10.1128/JB.01519-10. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Functional analysis of the holin-like proteins of mycobacteriophage Ms6.

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Centro de Patogénese Molecular, Unidade dos Retrovirus e Infecções Associadas, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, 1649-003 Lisbon, Portugal.


The mycobacteriophage Ms6 is a temperate double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bacteriophage which, in addition to the predicted endolysin (LysA)-holin (Gp4) lysis system, encodes three additional proteins within its lysis module: Gp1, LysB, and Gp5. Ms6 Gp4 was previously described as a class II holin-like protein. By analysis of the amino acid sequence of Gp4, an N-terminal signal-arrest-release (SAR) domain was identified, followed by a typical transmembrane domain (TMD), features which have previously been observed for pinholins. A second putative holin gene (gp5) encoding a protein with a predicted single TMD at the N-terminal region was identified at the end of the Ms6 lytic operon. Neither the putative class II holin nor the single TMD polypeptide could trigger lysis in pairwise combinations with the endolysin LysA in Escherichia coli. One-step growth curves and single-burst-size experiments of different Ms6 derivatives with deletions in different regions of the lysis operon demonstrated that the gene products of gp4 and gp5, although nonessential for phage viability, appear to play a role in controlling the timing of lysis: an Ms6 mutant with a deletion of gp4 (Ms6(Δgp4)) caused slightly accelerated lysis, whereas an Ms6(Δgp5) deletion mutant delayed lysis, which is consistent with holin function. Additionally, cross-linking experiments showed that Ms6 Gp4 and Gp5 oligomerize and that both proteins interact. Our results suggest that in Ms6 infection, the correct and programmed timing of lysis is achieved by the combined action of Gp4 and Gp5.

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