Burkholderia cenocepacia phage BcepMu and a family of Mu-like phages encoding potential pathogenesis factors. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have isolated BcepMu, a Mu-like bacteriophage whose host range includes human pathogenic Burkholderia cenocepacia (formally B. cepacia genomovar III) isolates, and determined its complete 36748 bp genomic sequence. Like enteric bacteriophage Mu, the BcepMu genomic DNA is flanked by variable host sequences, a result of transposon-mediated replication. The BcepMu genome encodes 53 proteins, including capsid assembly components related to those of Mu, and tail sheath and tube proteins related to those of bacteriophage P2. Seventeen of the BcepMu genes were demonstrated to encode homotypic interacting domains by using a cI fusion system. Most BcepMu genes have close homologs to prophage elements present in the two published Salmonella typhi genomes, and in the database sequences of Photorhabdus luminescens, and Chromobacterium violaceum. These prophage elements, designated SalMu, PhotoMu and ChromoMu, respectively, are collinear with BcepMu through nearly their entire lengths and show only limited mosaicism, despite the divergent characters of their hosts. The BcepMu family of Mu-like phages has a number of notable differences from Mu. Most significantly, the critical left end region of BcepMu is inverted with respect to Mu, and the BcepMu family of transposases is clearly of a distinct lineage with different molecular requirements at the transposon ends. Interestingly, a survey of 33 B.cepacia complex strains indicated that the BcepMu prophage is widespread in human pathogenic B.cenocepacia ET12 lineage isolates, but not in isolates from the PHDC or Midwest lineages. Identified members of the BcepMu family all contain a gene possibly involved in bacterial pathogenicity, a homolog of the type-two-secretion component exeA, but only BcepMu also carries a lipopolysaccharide modification acyltransferase which may also contribute a pathogenicity factor.

published proceedings

  • J Mol Biol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Summer, E. J., Gonzalez, C. F., Carlisle, T., Mebane, L. M., Cass, A. M., Savva, C. G., LiPuma, J., & Young, R. y.

citation count

  • 71

complete list of authors

  • Summer, Elizabeth J||Gonzalez, Carlos F||Carlisle, Thomas||Mebane, Leslie M||Cass, Andrea M||Savva, Christos G||LiPuma, JohnJ||Young, Ry

publication date

  • January 2004