A window into lysogeny: revealing temperate phage biology with transcriptomics


Siân V. Owen*, Rocío Canals, Nicolas Wenner, Disa L. Hammarlöf, Carsten Kröger, and Jay C. D. Hinton. 2020. “A window into lysogeny: revealing temperate phage biology with transcriptomics.” Microbial Genomics. Publisher's Version


Prophages are integrated phage elements that are a pervasive feature of bacterial genomes. The fitness of bacteria is enhanced by prophages that confer beneficial functions such as virulence, stress tolerance or phage resistance, and these functions are encoded by ‘accessory’ or ‘moron’ loci. Whilst the majority of phage-encoded genes are repressed during lysogeny, accessory loci are often highly expressed. However, it is challenging to identify novel prophage accessory loci from DNA sequence data alone. Here, we use bacterial RNA-seq data to examine the transcriptional landscapes of five prophages. We show that transcriptomic data can be used to heuristically enrich for prophage features that are highly expressed within bacterial cells and represent functionally important accessory loci. Using this approach, we identify a novel antisense RNA species in prophage BTP1, STnc6030, which mediates superinfection exclusion of phage BTP1. Bacterial transcriptomic datasets are a powerful tool to explore the molecular biology of temperate phages.
Last updated on 06/06/2020