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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02649

Modelling the architecture of depolymerase-containing receptor binding proteins in Klebsiella phages

  • 1University of Wrocław, Poland
  • 2Ghent University, Belgium
  • 3University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, United States

Klebsiella pneumoniae carries a thick polysaccharide capsule. This highly variable chemical structure plays an important role in its virulence. Many Klebsiella bacteriophages recognize this capsule with a receptor binding protein (RBP) that contains a depolymerase domain. This domain degrades the capsule to initiate phage infection. RBPs are highly specific and thus largely determine the host spectrum of the phage. A majority of known Klebsiella phages have only one or two RBPs, but phages with up to eleven RBPs with depolymerase activity and a broad host spectrum have been identified. A detailed bioinformatic analysis shows that similar RBP domains repeatedly occur in K. pneumoniae phages with structural RBP domains for attachment of an RBP to the phage tail (anchor domain) or for branching of RBPs (T4gp10-like domain). Structural domains determining the RBP architecture are located at the N-terminus, while the depolymerase is located in the center of protein. Occasionally, the RBP is complemented with an autocleavable chaperone domain at the distal end serving for folding and multimerization. The enzymatic domain is subjected to an intense horizontal transfer to rapidly shift the phage host spectrum without affecting the RBP architecture. These analyses allowed to model a set of conserved RBP architectures, indicating evolutionary linkages.

Keywords: Horizontal transfer, tail fiber genes, Receptor binding protein, Phage evolution, Depolymerase

Received: 11 Jul 2019; Accepted: 30 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Latka, Leiman, Drulis-Kawa and Briers. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Zuzanna Drulis-Kawa, University of Wrocław, Wrocław, 50-137, Silesian, Poland,
Prof. Yves Briers, Ghent University, Ghent, 9000, East Flanders, Belgium,