Despite continuous research efforts, bacterio(phages) infecting Lactococcus lactis starter strains persist as a major threat to dairy fermentations. The lactococcal P335 phages, which are currently classified into four sub-groups (I-IV), are the second most frequently isolated phage group in an industrial dairy context. The current work describes the isolation and comparative genomic analysis of 17 novel P335 group phages. Detailed analysis of the genomic region of P335 phages encoding the so-called "baseplate", which includes the receptor binding protein (RBP) was combined with a functional characterization of the RBP of sub-group III and IV phages. Additionally, calcium-dependence assays revealed a specific requirement for calcium by sub-group IV phages while host range analysis highlighted a higher number of strains with CWPS type A (11 of 39 strains) are infected by the P335 phages assessed in this study than those with a C (five strains), B (three of 39 strains) or unknown (one of 39 strains) CWPS type. These analyses revealed significant divergence among RBP sequences, apparently reflecting their unique interactions with the host and particularly for strains with a type A CWPS. The implications of the genomic architecture of lactococcal P335 phages on serving as a general model for Siphoviridae phages are discussed.
University College Cork ->