Bacteriophages remain an understudied component of bacterial communities. Therefore, our laboratory has initiated an effort to isolate large numbers of bacteriophages that infect Caulobacter crescentus to provide an estimate of the diversity of bacteriophages that infect this common environmental bacterium. The majority of the new isolates are phicbkviruses, a genus of giant viruses that appear to be Caulobacter specific. However, we have also isolated several Podoviruses with icosahedral heads and small tails. One of these Podoviruses, designated Lullwater, is similar to two previously isolated Caulobacter phages, Cd1 and Percy. All three have genomes that are approximately 45 kb and contain approximately 30 genes. The gene order is conserved among the three genomes with one of the genes coding for a DNA polymerase that has homology to the family of T7 DNA polymerases. Phylogenetic trees based on either the DNA polymerase or the RNA polymerase amino acid sequences suggests that the three phages represent a new branch of the T7virus tree. Based on these similarities, we concluded that Cd1, Lullwater, and Percy comprise a new group in the T7virus genus.
Journal: Current microbiology