The Role of Prophage-like Elements in the Diversity of Salmonella enterica Serovars

Nicholas Thomson, Stephen Baker, Derek Pickard, Maria Fookes, Muna Anjum, Nancy Hamlin, John Wain, Deborah House, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Kaman Chan, Stanley Falkow, Julian Parkhill, Martin Woodward, Al Ivens, Gordon Dougan

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Abstract

The Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi CT18 (S. Typhi) chromosome harbours seven distinct prophage-like elements, some of which may encode functional bacteriophages. In silico analyses were used to investigate these regions in S. Typhi CT18, and ultimately compare these integrated bacteriophages against 40 other Salmonella isolates using DNA microarray technology. S. Typhi CT18 contains prophages that show similarity to the lambda, Mu, P2 and P4 bacteriophage families. When compared to other S. Typhi isolates, these elements were generally conserved, supporting a clonal origin of this serovar. However, distinct variation was detected within a broad range of Salmonella serovars; many of the prophage regions are predicted to be specific to S. Typhi. Some of the P2 family prophage analysed have the potential to carry non-essential “cargo” genes within the hyper-variable tail region, an observation that suggests that these bacteriophage may confer a level of specialisation on their host. Lysogenic bacteriophages therefore play a crucial role in the generation of genetic diversity within S. enterica.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Volume339
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2004

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