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J Bacteriol. 2011 Oct;193(19):5300-13. doi: 10.1128/JB.05287-11. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

Genomes and characterization of phages Bcep22 and BcepIL02, founders of a novel phage type in Burkholderia cenocepacia.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University, 2128 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2128, USA.


Within the Burkholderia cepacia complex, B. cenocepacia is the most common species associated with aggressive infections in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, causing disease that is often refractive to treatment by antibiotics. Phage therapy may be a potential alternative form of treatment for these infections. Here we describe the genome of the previously described therapeutic B. cenocepacia podophage BcepIL02 and its close relative, Bcep22. Phage Bcep22 was found to contain a circularly permuted genome of 63,882 bp containing 77 genes; BcepIL02 was found to be 62,714 bp and contains 76 predicted genes. Major virion-associated proteins were identified by proteomic analysis. We propose that these phages comprise the founding members of a novel podophage lineage, the Bcep22-like phages. Among the interesting features of these phages are a series of tandemly repeated putative tail fiber genes that are similar to each other and also to one or more such genes in the other phages. Both phages also contain an extremely large (ca. 4,600-amino-acid), virion-associated, multidomain protein that accounts for over 20% of the phages' coding capacity, is widely distributed among other bacterial and phage genomes, and may be involved in facilitating DNA entry in both phage and other mobile DNA elements. The phages, which were previously presumed to be virulent, show evidence of a temperate lifestyle but are apparently unable to form stable lysogens in their hosts. This ambiguity complicates determination of a phage lifestyle, a key consideration in the selection of therapeutic phages.

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