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J Virol. 2012 May;86(9):4762-75. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00075-12. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Mycobacteriophage Marvin: a new singleton phage with an unusual genome organization.

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Cabrini College, Department of Science, Radnor, Pennsylvania, USA.


Mycobacteriophages represent a genetically diverse group of viruses that infect mycobacterial hosts. Although more than 80 genomes have been sequenced, these still poorly represent the likely diversity of the broader population of phages that can infect the host, Mycobacterium smegmatis mc(2)155. We describe here a newly discovered phage, Marvin, which is a singleton phage, having no previously identified close relatives. The 65,100-bp genome contains 107 predicted protein-coding genes arranged in a noncanonical genomic architecture in which a subset of the minor tail protein genes are displaced about 20 kbp from their typical location, situated among nonstructural genes anticipated to be expressed early in lytic growth. Marvin is not temperate, and stable lysogens cannot be recovered from infections, although the presence of a putative xis gene suggests that Marvin could be a relatively recent derivative of a temperate parent. The Marvin genome is replete with novel genes not present in other mycobacteriophage genomes, and although most are of unknown function, the presence of amidoligase and glutamine amidotransferase genes suggests intriguing possibilities for the interactions of Marvin with its mycobacterial hosts.

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