|Abstract: ||Background Xp10 and OP1 are phages of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), the causative agent of bacterial leaf blight in rice plants, which were isolated in 1967 in Taiwan and in 1954 in Japan, respectively. We recently isolated the Xoo phage Xop411.
The linear Xop411 genome (44,520 bp, 58 ORFs) sequenced here is 147 bp longer than that of Xp10 (60 ORFs) and 735 bp longer than that of OP1 (59 ORFs). The G+C contents of OP1 (51%) and Xop411 and Xp10 (52% each) are less than that of the host (65%). The 9-bp 3'-overhangs (5'-GGACAGTCT-3') in Xop411 and Xp10 are absent from OP1. More of the deduced Xop411 proteins share higher degrees of identity with Xp10 than with OP1 proteins, while the right end of the genomes of Xp10 and OP1, containing all predicted promoters, share stronger homology. Xop411, Xp10, and OP1 contain 8, 7, and 6 freestanding HNH endonuclease genes, respectively. These genes can be classified into five groups depending on their possession of the HNH domain (HNN or HNH type) and/or AP2 domain in intact or truncated forms. While the HNN-AP2 type endonuclease genes dispersed in the genome, the HNH type endonuclease genes, each with a unique copy, were located within the same genome context. Mass spectrometry and N-terminal sequencing showed nine Xop411 coat proteins, among which three were identified, six were assigned as coat proteins (4) and conserved phage proteins (2) in Xp10. The major coat protein, in which only the N-terminal methionine is removed, appears to exist in oligomeric forms containing 2 to 6 subunits. The three phages exhibit different patterns of domain duplication in the N-terminus of the tail fiber, which are involved in determination of the host range. Many short repeated sequences are present in and around the duplicated domains.
Conclusion Geographical separation may have confined lateral gene transfer among the Xoo phages. The HNN-AP2 type endonucleases were more likely to transfer their genes randomly in the genome and may degenerate after successful transmission. Some repeated sequences may be involved in duplication/loss of the domains in the tail fiber genes.