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J Bacteriol. 2017 May 25;199(12). pii: e00058-17. doi: 10.1128/JB.00058-17. Print 2017 Jun 15.

MS2 Lysis of Escherichia coli Depends on Host Chaperone DnaJ.

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Center for Phage Technology, Texas A&M AgriLife, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.
Center for Phage Technology, Texas A&M AgriLife, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA


The L protein of the single-stranded RNA phage MS2 causes lysis of Escherichia coli without inducing bacteriolytic activity or inhibiting net peptidoglycan (PG) synthesis. To find host genes required for L-mediated lysis, spontaneous Ill (insensitivity to Llysis) mutants were selected as survivors of L expression and shown to have a missense change of the highly conserved proline (P330Q) in the C-terminal domain of DnaJ. In the dnaJP330Q mutant host, L-mediated lysis is completely blocked at 30°C without affecting the intracellular levels of L. At higher temperatures (37°C and 42°C), both lysis and L accumulation are delayed. The lysis block at 30°C in the dnaJP330Q mutant was recessive and could be suppressed by Lovercomes dnaJ (Lodj ) alleles selected for restoration of lysis. All three Lodj alleles lack the highly basic N-terminal half of the lysis protein and cause lysis ∼20 min earlier than full-length L. DnaJ was found to form a complex with full-length L. This complex was abrogated by the P330Q mutation and was absent with the Lodj truncations. These results suggest that, in the absence of interaction with DnaJ, the N-terminal domain of L interferes with its ability to bind to its unknown target. The lysis retardation and DnaJ chaperone dependency conferred by the nonessential, highly basic N-terminal domain of L resembles the SlyD chaperone dependency conferred by the highly basic C-terminal domain of the E lysis protein of ϕX174, suggesting a common theme where single-gene lysis can be modulated by host factors influenced by physiological conditions.IMPORTANCE Small single-stranded nucleic acid lytic phages (Microviridae and Leviviridae) lyse their host by expressing a single "protein antibiotic." The protein antibiotics from two out of three prototypic small lytic viruses have been shown to inhibit two different steps in the conserved PG biosynthesis pathway. However, the molecular basis of lysis caused by L, the lysis protein of the third prototypic virus, MS2, is unknown. The significance of our research lies in the identification of DnaJ as a chaperone in the MS2 L lysis pathway and the identification of the minimal lytic domain of MS2 L. Additionally, our research highlights the importance of the highly conserved P330 residue in the C-terminal domain of DnaJ for specific protein interactions.


Escherichia coli; bacteriophage genetics; bacteriophage lysis; protein chaperone

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