A Type 3 Prophage of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ Carrying a Restriction-Modification System

Zheng et al. (2018). Phytopathology® 108 (4)
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Agronomy and Crop Science Plant Science
Prophages, the lysogenic form of bacterial phages, are important genetic entities of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas), a nonculturable α-proteobacterium associated with citrus Huanglongbing. Two CLas prophages have been described, SC1 (NC_019549.1, Type 1) and SC2 (NC_019550.1, Type 2), which involve the lytic cycle and the lysogenic cycle, respectively. To explore the prophage repertoire, 523 CLas DNA samples extracted from leaf petioles of CLas-infected citrus were collected from southern China and surveyed for Type 1 and Type 2 prophages by specific PCR. Eighteen samples were found lacking both prophages. One sample, JXGC, sequenced using Illumina HiSeq, generated >100 million short sequence reads (150 bp per read). Read mapping to known prophage sequences showed a sequence coverage of 46% to SC1 and 50% to SC2. BLAST search using SC1 and SC2 as queries identified three contigs from the JXGC de novo assembly that form a circular P-JXGC-3 (31,449 bp), designated as a new Type 3 prophage. Chromosomal integration of P-JXGC-3 was detected to occur within a helicase gene, resulting in a duplication of this gene. P-JXGC-3 had 36 open reading frames (ORFs), 10 of which were not found in Type 1 or Type 2 prophages, including four genes that encoded a restriction-modification (R-M) system (hsdR, hsdS, hsdM1, and hsdM2). Typed by prophage-specific PCR, the CLas strains in southern China contained all combinations of the three prophage types with the exception of a Type 2−Type 3 combination, suggesting active ongoing prophage−phage interactions. Based on gene annotation, P-JXGC-3 is not capable of reproduction via the lytic cycle. The R-M system was speculated to play a role against Type 1 prophage−phage invasion.
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