Publication : The tape measure protein is involved in the heat stability of Lactococcus lactis phages
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American Society for Microbiology
ABSTRACT : Virulent lactococcal phages are still a major risk for milk fermentation processes as they may lead to slowdowns and low-quality fermented dairy products, particularly cheeses. Some of the phage control strategies used by the industry rely on heat treatments. Recently, a few Lactococcus lactis phages were found to be highly thermoresistant. To identify the genetic determinant(s) responsible for the thermal resistance of lactococcal phages, we used the virulent phage CB14 (of the Lactococcus lactis 936 [now Sk1virus] phage group) to select for phage mutants with increased heat stability. By treating phage CB14 to successive low and high temperatures, we were able to select two CB14 derivatives with increased heat stability. Sequencing of their genome revealed the same nucleotide sequences as the wild-type phage CB14, except for a same-sized deletion (120 bp) in the gene coding for the tape measure protein (TMP) of each phage mutant, but at a different position. The TMP protein sequences of these mutant phages were compared with their homologues in other wild-type L. lactis phages with a wide diversity in heat stability. Comparative analysis showed that the same nucleotide deletion appears to have also occurred in the gene coding for the TMP of highly thermo-resistant lactococcal phages P1532 and P680. We propose that the TMP is, in part, responsible for the heat stability of the highly predominant lactococcal phages of the Sk1virus group. IMPORTANCE : Virulent lactococcal phages still represent a major risk for milk fermentation as they may lead to slowdowns and low-quality fermented dairy products. Heat treatment is one of the most commonly used methods to control these virulent phages in cheese by-products. Recently, a few Lactococcus lactis phages, members of the Sk1virus group, have emerged with high thermal stability. To our knowledge, the genetic determinant(s) responsible for this thermal resistance in lactococcal phages is unknown. A better understanding of the thermal stability of these emerging virulent lactococcal phages is needed to improve industrial control strategies. In this work, we report the identification of a phage structural protein that is involved in the heat stability of a virulent Sk1virus phage. Identifying such a genetic determinant for heat stability is a first step in understanding the emergence of this group of thermostable phages.
Applied and environmental microbiology, Vol. 84 (3), 1-9 (2018)
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Lactococcal phages , Sk1virus group , Heat stability , Genetic determinant , TMP , Bacteriophages , Cheese , Lactococcus , Milk , Phages , Tape measure protein , Whey proteins , Lactic acid bacteria
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