Cluster M mycobacteriophages Bongo, PegLeg, and Rey with unusually large repertoires of tRNA isotypes

Welkin H. Pope, Kirk R. Anders, Madison Baird, Charles A. Bowman, Michelle M. Boyle, Gregory W. Broussard, Tiffany Chow, Kari L. Clase, Shannon Cooper, Kathleen A. Cornely, Randall J. DeJong, Veronique A. Delesalle, Lisa Deng, David Dunbar, Nicholas P. Edgington, Christina M. Ferreira, Kathleen Weston Hafer, Grant A. Hartzog, J. Robert Hatherill, Lee E. HughesKhristina Ipapo, Greg P. Krukonis, Christopher G. Meier, Denise L. Monti, Matthew R. Olm, Shallee T. Page, Craig L. Peebles, Claire A. Rinehart, Michael R. Rubin, Daniel A. Russell, Erin R. Sanders, Morgan Schoer, Christopher D. Shaffer, James Wherley, Edwin Vazquez, Han Yuan, Daiyuan Zhang, Steven G. Cresawn, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, Roger W. Hendrix, Graham F. Hatfull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Genomic analysis of a large set of phages infecting the common host Mycobacterium smegmatis mc2155 shows that they span considerable genetic diversity. There are more than 20 distinct types that lack nucleotide similarity with each other, and there is considerable diversity within most of the groups. Three newly isolated temperate mycobacteriophages, Bongo, PegLeg, and Rey, constitute a new group (cluster M), with the closely related phages Bongo and PegLeg forming subcluster M1 and the more distantly related Rey forming subcluster M2. The clusterMmycobacteriophages have siphoviral morphologies with unusually long tails, are homoimmune, and have larger than average genomes (80.2 to 83.7 kbp). They exhibit a variety of features not previously described in other mycobacteriophages, including noncanonical genome architectures and several unusual sets of conserved repeated sequences suggesting novel regulatory systems for both transcription and translation. In addition to containing transfer-messenger RNA and RtcB-like RNA ligase genes, their genomes encode 21 to 24 tRNA genes encompassing complete or nearly complete sets of isotypes. We predict that these tRNAs are used in late lytic growth, likely compensating for the degradation or inadequacy of host tRNAs. They may represent a complete set of tRNAs necessary for late lytic growth, especially when taken together with the apparent lack of codons in the same late genes that correspond to tRNAs that the genomes of the phages do not obviously encode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2461-2480
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2014


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