Isolation of 32 Mycobacteriophages and Genomic Analysis of the Novel Mycobacteriophage, Minnie

Faculty Mentor(s)

Drs. Aaron Best and Joseph Stukey

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Thirty-two new mycobacteriophages were isolated from soil samples collected on or nearby Hope College in Holland, Michigan. All were capable of infecting Mycobacterium smegmatis and produced a variety of plaque morphologies based on size, shape, and clarity, consistent with the isolation of an assortment of different phages. Both lytic and temperate phages appear represented in this collection. Thirty-two purified phage stocks were used to prepare genomic DNA samples for restriction digest analysis. A comparison of those 32 digest results revealed few similarities among the group, further supporting our interpretation that most of the new phage isolates were distinct. One mycobacteriophage, Minnie, was chosen for complete genome sequencing using the Illumina Sequence platform and comparative genomic analysis. The predominant plaque produced by Minnie was 1-2 mm in diameter and displayed a turbid center with a comet-like tail after 24 hours of growth at 37°C. Comparison of the restriction digest pattern for Minnie with more than 200 known mycobacteriophage genomes did not yield an exact match, suggesting Minnie was a novel mycobacteriophage. Genome sequence data for Minnie supported that prediction but also revealed a relationship to a large group of mycobacteriophages in Cluster F1. The genome of Minnie is 59 Kb, 61.5% GC, and contains 101 genes in agreement with the genome characteristics of closely related phage. A detailed analysis of the complete genome sequence and comparison with sequenced members of this small and unique group of mycobacteriophages is the subject of the second semester of this yearlong course and is presented.


This research is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute SEA-PHAGES program.

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