Phage encoded H-NS: A potential Achilles heel in the bacterial defence system

Skennerton, Connor T., Angly, Florent E., Breitbart, Mya, Bragg, Lauren, He, Shaomei, McMahon, Katherine D., Hugenholtz, Philip and Tyson, Gene W. (2011) Phage encoded H-NS: A potential Achilles heel in the bacterial defence system. Plos One, 6 5: e20095-1-e20095-7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020095

Author Skennerton, Connor T.
Angly, Florent E.
Breitbart, Mya
Bragg, Lauren
He, Shaomei
McMahon, Katherine D.
Hugenholtz, Philip
Tyson, Gene W.
Title Phage encoded H-NS: A potential Achilles heel in the bacterial defence system
Journal name Plos One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2011-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0020095
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 6
Issue 5
Start page e20095-1
End page e20095-7
Total pages 7
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The relationship between phage and their microbial hosts is difficult to elucidate in complex natural ecosystems. Engineered systems performing enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR), offer stable, lower complexity communities for studying phage-host interactions. Here, metagenomic data from an EBPR reactor dominated by Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis (CAP), led to the recovery of three complete and six partial phage genomes. Heat-stable nucleoid structuring (H-NS) protein, a global transcriptional repressor in bacteria, was identified in one of the complete phage genomes (EPV1), and was most similar to a homolog in CAP. We infer that EPV1 is a CAP-specific phage and has the potential to repress up to 6% of host genes based on the presence of putative H-NS binding sites in the CAP genome. These genes include CRISPR associated proteins and a Type III restriction-modification system, which are key host defense mechanisms against phage infection. Further, EPV1 was the only member of the phage community found in an EBPR microbial metagenome collected seven months prior. We propose that EPV1 laterally acquired H-NS from CAP providing it with a means to reduce bacterial defenses, a selective advantage over other phage in the EBPR system. Phage encoded H-NS could constitute a previously unrecognized weapon in the phage-host arms race.
Keyword Biological Phosphorus Removal
Streptococcus-Thermophilus Bacteriophages
Nucleoid-Associated Protein
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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