1887

Abstract

Mycobacteriophage L5 is a temperate phage with a broad host range among the fast- and slow-growing mycobacteria such as , , and . L5 switches off host protein synthesis during the early stage of lytic growth, as was previously shown by protein expression profiling. Also, lethal genetic elements have been identified in L5 based on the fact that transformants could not be obtained with these genes. Using an inducible mycobacterial shuttle vector, we have identified three ORFs within an early operon of mycobacteriophage L5 which encode gene products (gp) toxic to the host when expressed. These ORFs, coding for gp77, gp78 and gp79, presumably function as shut-off genes during early stages of phage replication. There is evidence that cell division is affected by one of the proteins (gp79). The transcription of the cytotoxic polypeptides is directed by a promoter situated in ORF83 and transcription control is achieved through the phage repressor gp71, which is shown by co-expression of this protein. The findings presented here should provide useful tools for the molecular genetics of mycobacteria. Further analysis of these and other mycobacteriophage-derived toxic polypeptides, together with the identification of their cellular targets, might provide a tool for the rapid identification of promising drug targets in emerging and re-emerging mycobacterial pathogens.

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2008-08-01
2019-10-19
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