Genome-wide screens reveal Escherichia coli genes required for growth of T1-like phage LL5 and V5-like phage LL12.
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The host factor requirements of phages and mechanisms of mutational phage insensitivity must be characterized for rational design of phage cocktails. To characterize host dependencies of two novel Escherichia coli phages, the T1-like siphophage LL5 and the V5-like myophage LL12, forward genetic screens were conducted against the Keio collection, a library of single non-essential gene deletions in E. coli str. BW25113. These screens and subsequent experiments identified genes required by phages LL5 and LL12. E. coli mutants deficient in heptose II and the phosphoryl substituent of heptose I of the inner core lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were unable to propagate phage LL5, as were mutants deficient in the outer membrane protein TolC. Mutants lacking glucose I of the LPS outer core failed to propagate LL12. Two additional genes encoding cytoplasmic chaperones, PpiB and SecB, were found to be required for efficient propagation of phage LL5, but not LL12. This screening approach may be useful for identifying host factors dependencies of phages, which would provide valuable information for their potential use as therapeutics and for phage engineering.