The physical characteristics of bacteriophages establish them as viable candidates for downstream development of pathogen detection assays and biocontrol measures. To utilize phages for such purposes, a detailed knowledge of their host interaction mechanisms is a prerequisite. There is currently a wealth of knowledge available concerning Gram-negative phage-host interaction, but little by comparison for Gram-positive phages and Listeria phages in particular. In this research, the lytic spectrum of two recently isolated Listeria monocytogenes phages (vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293) was determined, and the genomic basis for their observed serotype 4b/4e host-specificity was investigated using comparative genomics. The late tail genes of these phages were identified to be highly conserved when compared to other serovar 4-specific Listeria phages. Spontaneous mutants of each of these phages with broadened host specificities were generated. Their late tail gene sequences were compared with their wild-type counterparts resulting in the putative identification of the products of ORF 19 of vB_LmoS_188 and ORF 20 of vB_LmoS_293 as the receptor binding proteins of these phages. The research findings also indicate that conserved baseplate architectures and host interaction mechanisms exist for Listeria siphoviruses with differing host-specificities, and further contribute to the current knowledge of phage-host interactions with regard to Listeria phages
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