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Open Access Research article

Genomic and proteomic characterization of SuMu, a Mu-like bacteriophage infecting Haemophilus parasuis

Emilie S Zehr1*, Louisa B Tabatabai1 and Darrell O Bayles2

Author Affiliations

1 U. S. Department of Agriculture, Ruminant Diseases and Immunology, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA, 50010, USA

2 U. S. Department of Agriculture, Infectious Bacterial Diseases, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA, 50010, USA

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13:331  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-331

Published: 23 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Haemophilus parasuis, the causative agent of Glässer’s disease, is prevalent in swine herds and clinical signs associated with this disease are meningitis, polyserositis, polyarthritis, and bacterial pneumonia. Six to eight week old pigs in segregated early weaning herds are particularly susceptible to the disease. Insufficient colostral antibody at weaning or the mixing of pigs with heterologous virulent H. parasuis strains from other farm sources in the nursery or grower-finisher stage are considered to be factors for the outbreak of Glässer’s disease. Previously, a Mu-like bacteriophage portal gene was detected in a virulent swine isolate of H. parasuis by nested polymerase chain reaction. Mu-like bacteriophages are related phyologenetically to enterobacteriophage Mu and are thought to carry virulence genes or to induce host expression of virulence genes. This study characterizes the Mu-like bacteriophage, named SuMu, isolated from a virulent H. parasuis isolate.

Results

Characterization was done by genomic comparison to enterobacteriophage Mu and proteomic identification of various homologs by mass spectrometry. This is the first report of isolation and characterization of this bacteriophage from the Myoviridae family, a double-stranded DNA bacteriophage with a contractile tail, from a virulent field isolate of H. parasuis. The genome size of bacteriophage SuMu was 37,151 bp. DNA sequencing revealed fifty five open reading frames, including twenty five homologs to Mu-like bacteriophage proteins: Nlp, phage transposase-C-terminal, COG2842, Gam-like protein, gp16, Mor, peptidoglycan recognition protein, gp29, gp30, gpG, gp32, gp34, gp36, gp37, gpL, phage tail tube protein, DNA circulation protein, gpP, gp45, gp46, gp47, COG3778, tail fiber protein gp37-C terminal, tail fiber assembly protein, and Com. The last open reading frame was homologous to IS1414. The G + C content of bacteriophage SuMu was 41.87% while its H. parasuis host genome’s G + C content was 39.93%. Twenty protein homologs to bacteriophage proteins, including 15 structural proteins, one lysogeny-related and one lysis-related protein, and three DNA replication proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. One of the tail proteins, gp36, may be a virulence-related protein.

Conclusions

Bacteriophage SuMu was characterized by genomic and proteomic methods and compared to enterobacteriophage Mu.

Keywords:
Haemophilus parasuis; Bacteriophage; Virulence