Mirzaei MK, Eriksson H, Kasuga K, Haggård-Ljungquist E, Nilsson AS. Genomic, Proteomic, Morphological, and Phylogenetic Analyses of vB_EcoP_SU10, a Podoviridae Phage with C3 Morphology, 2014, DOI: 10.1371 /journal.pone.0116294



A recently isolated phage, vB_EcoP_SU10 (SU10), with the unusual elongated C3 morphotype, can infect a wide range of Escherichia coli strains. We have sequenced the genome of this phage and characterized it further by mass spectrometry based proteomics, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and ultra-thin section electron microscopy. The genome size is 77,327 base pairs and its genes, and genome architecture, show high similarity to the phiEco32 phage genes and genome. The TEM images reveal that SU10 have a quite long tail for being a Podoviridae phage, and that the tail also changes conformation upon infection. The ultra-thin section electron microscopy images of phages at the stage of replication within the host cell show that the phages form a honeycomb-like structure under packaging of genomes and assembly of mature capsids. This implies a tight link between the replication and cutting of the concatemeric genome, genome packaging, and capsid assembly. We have also performed a phylogenetic analysis of the structural genes common between Podoviridae phages of the C1 and C3 morphotypes. The result shows that the structural genes have coevolved, and that they form two distinct groups linked to their morphotypes. The structural genes of C1 and C3 phages appear to have diverged around 280 million years ago applying a molecular clock calibrated according to the presumed split between the Escherichia – Salmonella genera.