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      Cold adaptation regulated by cryptic prophage excision in Shewanella oneidensis

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          Among the environmental stresses experienced by bacteria, temperature shifts are one of the most important. In this study, we discovered a novel cold adaptation mechanism in Shewanella oneidensis that occurs at the DNA level and is regulated by cryptic prophage excision. Previous studies on bacterial cold tolerance mainly focus on the structural change of cell membrane and changes at the RNA and protein levels. Whether or not genomic change can also contribute to this process has not been explored. Here we employed a whole-genome deep-sequencing method to probe the changes at DNA level in a model psychrotrophic bacteria strain. We found that temperature downshift induced a 10 000-fold increase of the excision of a novel P4-like cryptic prophage. Importantly, although prophage excision only occurred in a relatively small population of bacteria, it was able to facilitate biofilm formation and promote the survival of the entire population. This prophage excision affected cell physiology by disrupting a critical gene encoding transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA). In addition, we found that the histone-like nucleoid-structuring protein (H-NS) could silence prophage excision via binding to the promoter of the putative excisionase gene at warm temperatures. H-NS level was reduced at cold temperatures, leading to de-repression of prophage excision. Collectively, our results reveal that cryptic prophage excision acts as a regulatory switch to enable the survival of the host at low temperature by controlling the activity of tmRNA and biofilm formation.

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          Most cited references 64

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          Unlike eukaryotes, which evolve principally through the modification of existing genetic information, bacteria have obtained a significant proportion of their genetic diversity through the acquisition of sequences from distantly related organisms. Horizontal gene transfer produces extremely dynamic genomes in which substantial amounts of DNA are introduced into and deleted from the chromosome. These lateral transfers have effectively changed the ecological and pathogenic character of bacterial species.
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            A computer program, ARAGORN, identifies tRNA and tmRNA genes. The program employs heuristic algorithms to predict tRNA secondary structure, based on homology with recognized tRNA consensus sequences and ability to form a base-paired cloverleaf. tmRNA genes are identified using a modified version of the BRUCE program. ARAGORN achieves a detection sensitivity of 99% from a set of 1290 eubacterial, eukaryotic and archaeal tRNA genes and detects all complete tmRNA sequences in the tmRNA database, improving on the performance of the BRUCE program. Recently discovered tmRNA genes in the chloroplasts of two species from the 'green' algae lineage are detected. The output of the program reports the proposed tRNA secondary structure and, for tmRNA genes, the secondary structure of the tRNA domain, the tmRNA gene sequence, the tag peptide and a list of organisms with matching tmRNA peptide tags.
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              Lysogenic conversion by a filamentous phage encoding cholera toxin.

              Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, requires two coordinately regulated factors for full virulence: cholera toxin (CT), a potent enterotoxin, and toxin-coregulated pili (TCP), surface organelles required for intestinal colonization. The structural genes for CT are shown here to be encoded by a filamentous bacteriophage (designated CTXphi), which is related to coliphage M13. The CTXphi genome chromosomally integrated or replicated as a plasmid. CTXphi used TCP as its receptor and infected V. cholerae cells within the gastrointestinal tracts of mice more efficiently than under laboratory conditions. Thus, the emergence of toxigenic V. cholerae involves horizontal gene transfer that may depend on in vivo gene expression.

                Author and article information

                ISME J
                ISME J
                The ISME Journal
                Nature Publishing Group
                December 2016
                02 August 2016
                1 December 2016
                : 10
                : 12
                : 2787-2800
                [1 ]Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Marine Materia Medica, RNAM Center for Marine Microbiology, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Guangzhou, China
                [2 ]University of Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing, China
                [3 ]State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Sciences, Xiamen University , Xiamen, China
                [4 ]Institute of Marine Microbes and Ecospheres, Xiamen University , Xiamen, China
                Author notes
                [* ]South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , 164 Xingang West Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510301, China. E-mail: xxwang@
                Copyright © 2016 International Society for Microbial Ecology

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                Original Article

                Microbiology & Virology


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