Genome of Staphylococcal Phage K: A New Lineage of Myoviridae Infecting Gram-Positive Bacteria with a Low G+C Content

S. O'Flaherty, A. Coffey, R. Edwards, W. Meaney, G. F. Fitzgerald, R. P. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


Phage K is a polyvalent phage of the Myoviridae family which is active against a wide range of staphylococci. Phage genome sequencing revealed a linear DNA genome of 127,395 bp, which carries 118 putative open reading frames. The genome is organized in a modular form, encoding modules for lysis, structural proteins, DNA replication, and transcription. Interestingly, the structural module shows high homology to the structural module from Listeria phage A511, suggesting intergenus horizontal transfer. In addition, phage K exhibits the potential to encode proteins necessary for its own replisome, including DNA ligase, primase, helicase, polymerase, RNase H, and DNA binding proteins. Phage K has a complete absence of GATC sites, making it insensitive to restriction enzymes which cleave this sequence. Three introns (lys-I1, pol-I2, and pol-I3) encoding putative endonucleases were located in the genome. Two of these (pol-I2 and pol-I3) were found to interrupt the DNA polymerase gene, while the other (lys-I1) interrupts the lysin gene. Two of the introns encode putative proteins with homology to HNH endonucleases, whereas the other encodes a 270-amino-acid protein which contains two zinc fingers (CX 2CX22CX2C and CX2CX 23CX2C). The availability of the genome of this highly virulent phage, which is active against infective staphylococci, should provide new insights into the biology and evolution of large broad-spectrum polyvalent phages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2862-2871
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


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