Isolation and characterisation of novel phages infecting Lactobacillus plantarum and proposal of a new genus, “Silenusvirus”
Bacteria of Lactobacillus sp. are very useful to humans. However, the biology and genomic diversity of their (bacterio)phage enemies remains understudied. Knowledge on Lactobacillus phage diversity should broaden to develop efficient phage control strategies. To this end, organic waste samples were screened for phages against two wine-related Lactobacillus plantarum strains. Isolates were shotgun sequenced and compared against the phage database and each other by phylogenetics and comparative genomics. The new isolates had only three distant relatives from the database, but displayed a high overall degree of genomic similarity amongst them. The latter allowed for the use of one isolate as a representative to conduct transmission electron microscopy and structural protein sequencing, and to study phage adsorption and growth kinetics. The microscopy and proteomics tests confirmed the observed diversity of the new isolates and supported their classification to the family Siphoviridae and the proposal of the new phage genus “Silenusvirus”.