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[en] Highlights: • Twelve novel picobirnavirus segments were identified from a chicken cloacal sample. • Full-length sequences of five segment 1 and seven segment 2 were determined. • Prokaryotic Shine-Dalgarno-like (SD-like) sequences were present upstream of all ORFs. • In vivo expression analysis indicates the SD-like sequences are functional in E. coli. • The presence of functional SD-like sequences further support the phage nature of PBVs. Picobirnaviruses (PBVs) of family Picobirnaviridae have bisegmented (S1 and S2 segments), double-stranded RNA genomes. In this study a total of N = 12 complete chicken PBVs (ChPBV) segments (N = 5 of S1 and N = 7 of S2, Acc. Nos.: MH425579-90) were determined using viral metagenomic and RT-PCR techniques from a single cloacal sample of a diarrheic chicken. The identified ChPBV segments are unrelated to each other and distant from all of the currently known PBVs. In silico sequence analyses revealed the presence of conserved prokaryotic Shine-Dalgarno-like (SD-like) sequences upstream of the three presumed open reading frames (ORFs) of the S1 and a single presumed ORF of the S2 segments. According to the results of expression analyses in E. coli using 6xHis-tagged recombinant ChPBV segment 1 construct and Western blot these SD-like sequences are functional in vivo suggesting that S1 of study PBVs can contain three ORFs and supporting the bacteriophage-nature of PBVs.
[en] Highlights: • 38 novel picobirnavirus sequences are identified. • Prokaryotic RBS sequences are enriched among known and novel picobirnaviruses. • RBS sequences are enriched among prokaryotic but not eukaryotic viral genomes and families. Currently, the Leviviridae and Cystoviridae are the only two recognized families of prokaryotic RNA viruses. Picobirnaviruses, which are bisegmented double-stranded RNA viruses commonly found in animal stool samples, are currently thought to be animal viruses, but have not been propagated in cell culture or in an animal model. We hypothesize that picobirnaviruses are prokaryotic RNA viruses. We identified and analyzed the genomes of 38 novel picobirnaviruses and determined that a classical bacterial sequence motif, the ribosomal binding site (RBS), is present in the 5′ untranslated regions (5′ UTRs) of all of the novel as well as all previously published picobirnavirus sequences. Among all viruses, enrichment of the RBS motif is only observed in viral families that infect prokaryotes and not in eukaryotic infecting viral families. These results will enable future studies to more accurately understand the biology of picobirnaviruses.
[en] We demonstrate - using the data base of all deposited DNA and RNA structures aligned in Pf1-medium and RDC refined - that for nucleic acids in a Pf1-medium the electrostatic alignment tensor can be predicted reliably and accurately via a simple and fast calculation based on the gyration tensor spanned out by the phosphodiester atoms. The rhombicity is well predicted over its full range from 0 to 0.66, while the alignment tensor orientation is predicted correctly for rhombicities up to ca. 0.4, for larger rhombicities it appears to deviate somewhat more than expected based on structural noise and measurement error. This simple analytical approach is based on the Debye-Huckel approximation for the electrostatic interaction potential, valid at distances sufficiently far away from a poly-ionic charged surface, a condition naturally enforced when the charge of alignment medium and solute are of equal sign, as for nucleic acids in a Pf1-phage medium. For the usual salt strengths and nucleic acid sizes, the Debye-Huckel screening length is smaller than the nucleic acid size, but large enough for the collective of Debye-Huckel spheres to encompass the whole molecule. The molecular alignment is then purely electrostatic, but it's functional form is under these conditions similar to that for steric alignment. The proposed analytical expression allows for very fast calculation of the alignment tensor and hence RDCs from the conformation of the nucleic acid molecule. This information provides opportunities for improved structure determination of nucleic acids, including better assessment of dynamics in (multi-domain) nucleic acids and the possibility to incorporate alignment tensor prediction from shape directly into the structure calculation process. The procedures are incorporated into MATLAB scripts, which are available on request
[en] Genomes of single-stranded RNA viruses have evolved to optimize several concurrent properties. One of them is the architecture of their genomic folds, which must not only feature precise structural elements at specific positions, but also allow for overall spatial compactness. The latter was shown to be disrupted by random synonymous mutations, a disruption which can consequently negatively affect genome encapsidation. In this study, we use three mutation schemes with different degrees of locality to mutate the genomes of phage MS2 and Brome Mosaic virus in order to understand the observed sensitivity of the global compactness of their folds. We find that mutating local stretches of their genomes’ sequence or structure is less disruptive to their compactness compared to inducing randomly-distributed mutations. Our findings are indicative of a mechanism for the conservation of compactness acting on a global scale of the genomes, and have several implications for understanding the interplay between local and global architecture of viral RNA genomes. (paper)
[en] In this work, we report on simulations of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) ejection from bacteriophage ϕ29 into a bacterial cell. The ejection was studied with a coarse-grained model, in which viral dsDNA was represented by beads on a torsion-less string. The bacteriophage’s capsid and the bacterial cell were defined by sets of spherical constraints. To account for the effects of the viscous medium inside the bacterial cell, the simulations were carried out using a Langevin dynamics protocol. Our simplest simulations (involving constant viscosity and no external biasing forces) produced results compatible with the push–pull model of DNA ejection, with an ejection rate significantly higher in the first part of ejection than in the latter parts. Additionally, we performed more complicated simulations, in which we included additional factors such as external forces, osmotic pressure, condensing agents and ejection-dependent viscosity. The effects of these factors (independently and in combination) on the thermodynamics and kinetics of DNA ejection were studied. We found that, in general, the dependence of ejection forces and ejection rates on the amount of DNA ejected becomes more complex if the ejection is modeled with a broader, more realistic set of parameters and influences (such as variation in the solvent’s viscosity and the application of an external force). However, certain combinations of factors and numerical parameters led to the opposition of some ejection-driving and ejection-inhibiting influences, ultimately causing an apparent simplification of the ejection profiles. (paper)
[en] Highlights: • The 91,159 bp genome of E. coli phage D6 was sequenced. • D6 is a moderately distant relative of phage P1. • Bacterial sequence database harbors many unannotated P1-/D6-like plasmid prophages. • Phage SSU5 is not related to D6 or P1 but is almost certainly a temperate phage. • SSU5-like phages are present as circular plasmids in many Enterobacteriaceae genomes. The temperate Escherichia coli bacteriophage D6 can exist as a circular plasmid prophage, and we report here its 91,159 bp complete genome sequence. It is a distant relative of the well-studied phage P1, but it is sufficiently different that it typifies a previously undescribed tailed phage type or cluster. Examination of the database of bacterial genome sequences revealed that phage P1 and D6 prophage plasmids are common in the Enterobacteriales, and in addition, previously described Salmonella phage SSU5 represents a different type of temperate tailed phage with a circular plasmid prophage that is also very common in this host order. This analysis also discovered additional divergent clusters of putative circular plasmid prophages within the two larger P1 and SSU5 groups (superclusters) that inhabit the Enterobacteriales as well as bacteria in several other orders in the Gamma-proteobacteria class. Very few of these sequences are annotated as putative prophages.
[en] Highlights: • gp44 is a minor capsid protein of Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage 80α. • gp44 is vital for productive 80α infection, but not for transduction of plasmids. • gp44 does not affect phage assembly, packaging or DNA ejection. • gp44 is an ejection protein that acts in the host cell post DNA injection. • gp44 promotes progression to lytic growth, and is required for lysogenization. Many staphylococcal bacteriophages encode a minor capsid protein between the genes for the portal and scaffolding proteins. In Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage 80α, this protein, called gp44, is essential for the production of viable phage, but dispensable for the phage-mediated mobilization of S. aureus pathogenicity islands. We show here that gp44 is not required for capsid assembly, DNA packaging or ejection of the DNA, nor for generalized transduction of plasmids. An 80α Δ44 mutant could be complemented in trans by gp44 expressed from a plasmid, indicating that gp44 plays a post-injection role in the host. Our results show that gp44 is an ejection (pilot) protein that is involved in deciding the fate of the phage DNA after injection. Our data are consistent with a model in which gp44 acts as a regulatory protein that promotes progression to the lytic cycle.
[en] Highlights: • Phage T4 SegD protein is homologous to the GIY-YIG family of homing endonucleases. • SegD is a site-specific endonuclease that digests the modified T-even phage DNA. • SegD cleavage site is identical in the genomes of both segD– and segD+ phages. • SegD does not introduce breaks into its recognition site in vivo. • SegD is an endonuclease, which does not function to initiate homing of its own gene. Homing endonucleases are a group of site-specific endonucleases that initiate homing, a nonreciprocal transfer of its own gene into a new allele lacking this gene. This work describes a novel phage T4 endonuclease, SegD, which is homologous to the GIY-YIG family of homing endonucleases. Like other T4 homing endonucleases SegD recognizes an extended, 16 bp long, site, cleaves it asymmetrically to form 3′-protruding ends and digests both unmodified DNA and modified T-even phage DNA with similar efficiencies. Surprisingly, we revealed that SegD cleavage site was identical in the genomes of segD– and segD+ phages. We found that segD gene was expressed during the T4 developmental cycle. Nevertheless, endonuclease SegD was not able to initiate homing of its own gene as well as genetic recombination between phages in its site inserted into the rII locus.
[en] The aim of this study is to find the pathogenic bacteria Listeria and Salmonella and to detect of bacterial (fecal coliforms) and viral indicators (bacteriophage) of fecal contamination in the residues of three sewage treatment plants in Greater Tunis: Charguia, Jdaida and Wardia. Three types of samples were analyzed: raw sewage, treated wastewater and sludge. The study showed the presence of pathogenic bacteria in some samples with a frequency of 7 pour cent for Listeria and 21 pour cent for Salmonella. However, none of these organisms has been detected in treated water of Jdaida and Chargia reflecting the efficiency of the purification process in these stations. Furthermore, all samples were positive for the presence of fecal coliforms and bacteriophages with important titles: up to 8.23 log10 (CFU/L) for coliforms and 8.36 log10 (pfu/L) for bacteriophages.