The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori colonises approximately half of the global population and infectioncan lead to a range of gastric diseases. The temperate bacteriophages in H. pylorihave been poorly characterised, most likely due to a very high number and strain-to-strain variability of restriction modification (RM) systems, which can be easily more than 20 in any strain. This work aims to study the prevalence of bacteriophages and RM systems in over 460 strains of H. pyloriisolated from 184 gastric samples from asymptomatic subjects. H. pyloriprophages were identified using the PHASTER tool. The gold standard RM systems were downloaded from Rebase and the RM genes were identified in the 460 genomes using Blast+. The analysis for phage genomes showed 57 intact bacteriophages, ranging from 12 to 30 Kb in length, in 25 subjects (14 %). Approximately half of the bacteriophages were shown to have integrated in the Lipid A biosynthesis gene lpxD. Using 107 RM system genes, we built a presence/absence matrix of the genes in all our H. pylori genomes, which was ordered according to a maximum likelihood gene presence/absence tree generated by FastTree. This clustering revealed the presence of multiple pairs of strains, one strain carrying an intact prophage whereas the other is lacking a prophage but containing the same RM systems, potentially allowing for a prophage donor and recipient pair. The availability of this panel of donor and recipient strain pairs is an ideal starting point to study the molecular biology of bacteriophages in H. pylori.

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