Silencing of cryptic prophages in Corynebacterium glutamicum.

TitleSilencing of cryptic prophages in Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPfeifer, E, Hünnefeld, M, Popa, O, Polen, T, Kohlheyer, D, Baumgart, M, Frunzke, J
JournalNucleic Acids Res
Date Published2016 Aug 4

DNA of viral origin represents a ubiquitous element of bacterial genomes. Its integration into host regulatory circuits is a pivotal driver of microbial evolution but requires the stringent regulation of phage gene activity. In this study, we describe the nucleoid-associated protein CgpS, which represents an essential protein functioning as a xenogeneic silencer in the Gram-positive Corynebacterium glutamicum CgpS is encoded by the cryptic prophage CGP3 of the C. glutamicum strain ATCC 13032 and was first identified by DNA affinity chromatography using an early phage promoter of CGP3. Genome-wide profiling of CgpS binding using chromatin affinity purification and sequencing (ChAP-Seq) revealed its association with AT-rich DNA elements, including the entire CGP3 prophage region (187 kbp), as well as several other elements acquired by horizontal gene transfer. Countersilencing of CgpS resulted in a significantly increased induction frequency of the CGP3 prophage. In contrast, a strain lacking the CGP3 prophage was not affected and displayed stable growth. In a bioinformatics approach, cgpS orthologs were identified primarily in actinobacterial genomes as well as several phage and prophage genomes. Sequence analysis of 618 orthologous proteins revealed a strong conservation of the secondary structure, supporting an ancient function of these xenogeneic silencers in phage-host interaction.

Alternate JournalNucleic Acids Res.