Title of Abstract

Genetic Analysis of Orthologous K Cluster Phages

Submitting Student(s)

Laela Walker
Dallas Nivens
Bethany Wise

Session Title

Science and Technology

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Victoria Frost, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Biology

Abstract

Thousands of bacteriophages have been sequenced within the past few years, the majority due to efforts of students and faculty as part of the SEA Program of Research. Analysis of these phage genomes has highlighted a vast genetic diversity that can be influenced by phage lifestyle, bacterial host, and mosaicism due to extensive horizontal gene transfer events. Consequently, phages are organized into clusters based on a measure of the proportion of genes their genomes share. If two genomes share 35% or more gene content similarity (GCS) they are considered to be in the same cluster. This study takes a closer look at possible gene similarities between the K cluster phages Cain, Waterfoul, Hammy, Amelie, Pixie and Larva. All these phages share the same host (Mycobacterium smegmatis), are temperate, and have a GCS, when compared with Cain, of between 53% and 80%. Homology comparisons were conducted using several bioinformatics programs including Phamerator, BLASTp, and multiple sequence alignment tools ClustalW and GeneDoc. A number of genetic homologies were revealed across this cluster of phages, including between Cain gene gp55 and Waterfoul gene gp 47 In parallel, evidence has shown that both of these gene products interact with Nus A; a protein known to be an important cellular transcription regulator in the host’s proteome. As we move forward with phenotypic assays and protein-protein analysis of phage genes, homologous modelling can add to the increasing evidence that a number of genes within the same cluster have similar functions with evolutionary benefits towards phage fitness.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Genetic Analysis of Orthologous K Cluster Phages

Thousands of bacteriophages have been sequenced within the past few years, the majority due to efforts of students and faculty as part of the SEA Program of Research. Analysis of these phage genomes has highlighted a vast genetic diversity that can be influenced by phage lifestyle, bacterial host, and mosaicism due to extensive horizontal gene transfer events. Consequently, phages are organized into clusters based on a measure of the proportion of genes their genomes share. If two genomes share 35% or more gene content similarity (GCS) they are considered to be in the same cluster. This study takes a closer look at possible gene similarities between the K cluster phages Cain, Waterfoul, Hammy, Amelie, Pixie and Larva. All these phages share the same host (Mycobacterium smegmatis), are temperate, and have a GCS, when compared with Cain, of between 53% and 80%. Homology comparisons were conducted using several bioinformatics programs including Phamerator, BLASTp, and multiple sequence alignment tools ClustalW and GeneDoc. A number of genetic homologies were revealed across this cluster of phages, including between Cain gene gp55 and Waterfoul gene gp 47 In parallel, evidence has shown that both of these gene products interact with Nus A; a protein known to be an important cellular transcription regulator in the host’s proteome. As we move forward with phenotypic assays and protein-protein analysis of phage genes, homologous modelling can add to the increasing evidence that a number of genes within the same cluster have similar functions with evolutionary benefits towards phage fitness.