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Abstract

Holins are phage-encoded hydrophobic membrane proteins that spontaneously and non-specifically accumulate and form lesions in the cytoplasmic membrane. The ORF72 gene (also designated ) derived from the genome of the phage GH15 was predicted to encode a membrane protein. An analysis indicated that the protein encoded by potentially consisted of two hydrophobic transmembrane helices. This protein exhibited the structural characteristics of class II holins and belonged to the phage_holin_1 superfamily. Expression of HolGH15 in BL21 cells resulted in growth retardation of the host cells, which was triggered prematurely by the addition of 2,4-dinitrophenol. The expression of HolGH15 caused morphological alterations in engineered cells, including loss of the cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane integrity and release of intracellular components, which were visualized by transmission electron microscopy. HolGH15 exerted efficient antibacterial activity at 37 °C and pH 5.2. Mutation analysis indicated that the two transmembrane domains of HolGH15 were indispensable for the activity of the full-length protein. HolGH15 showed a broad antibacterial range: it not only inhibited , but also demonstrated antibacterial activity against other species, including , , , and . At the minimal inhibitory concentration, HolGH15 evoked the release of cellular contents and resulted in the shrinkage and death of and cells. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first report of a phage holin that exerts antibacterial activity against heterogeneous pathogens.

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2016-05-01
2021-07-28
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