Characterization and genome sequencing of two Propionibacterium acnes phages displaying pseudolysogeny

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Background: Propionibacterium acnes is a Gram positive rod inhabiting the human skin that also infects orthopaedic implants and is associated with acne vulgaris. Previously, one lytic bacteriophage, PA6, from P. acnes has been sequenced and partially characterized. We recently isolated several inducible phages from P. acnes classified as Siphoviruses based on morphology and partial genome sequencing. Results: In this study we sequenced the inducible P. acnes phages PAD20 and PAS50, isolated from deep infection and from skin, respectively. The genomes of PAD20 and PAS50 are 29,074 and 29,017 bp, respectively, compared with the 29,739 bp of PA6. The phage genomes have 87.3-88.7% nucleotide sequence identity. The genes are divided into clusters with different levels of similarity between the phages. PAD20 and PAS50 share four genes encoding identical amino acid sequences. Some deletions and insertions in the genomes have occurred, resulting in lack of genes, frame shifts, and possible regulatory differences. No obvious virulence factor gene candidates were found. The phages are inducible, but bacteria can be cured of phages by serial colony isolations and lose their phages during stationary phase, but are still sensitive to new phage infections. Construction of a phylogenetic tree based on more than 459 phage genomes, suggested that P. acnes phages represent a new lineage of Siphoviruses. Conclusions: The investigated P. acnes Siphovirus genomes share a high degree of homology to other P. acnes phages sequenced, but not to genomes of other phages isolated from Propionibacteria. The phage genomes are not integrated in the bacterial genome, but instead, most likely have a pseudolysogenic life cycle.


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  • Genetics
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

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