Applied and environmental microbiology

Selection and Characterization of Phage-Resistant Mutant Strains of Listeria monocytogenes Reveal Host Genes Linked to Phage Adsorption.

PMID 25888172


Listeria-infecting phages are readily isolated from Listeria-containing environments, yet little is known about the selective forces they exert on their host. Here, we identified that two virulent phages, LP-048 and LP-125, adsorb to the surface of Listeria monocytogenes strain 10403S through different mechanisms. We isolated and sequenced, using whole-genome sequencing, 69 spontaneous mutant strains of 10403S that were resistant to either one or both phages. Mutations from 56 phage-resistant mutant strains with only a single mutation mapped to 10 genes representing five loci on the 10403S chromosome. An additional 12 mutant strains showed two mutations, and one mutant strain showed three mutations. Two of the loci, containing seven of the genes, accumulated the majority (n = 64) of the mutations. A representative mutant strain for each of the 10 genes was shown to resist phage infection through mechanisms of adsorption inhibition. Complementation of mutant strains with the associated wild-type allele was able to rescue phage susceptibility for 6 out of the 10 representative mutant strains. Wheat germ agglutinin, which specifically binds to N-acetylglucosamine, bound to 10403S and mutant strains resistant to LP-048 but did not bind to mutant strains resistant to only LP-125. We conclude that mutant strains resistant to only LP-125 lack terminal N-acetylglucosamine in their wall teichoic acid (WTA), whereas mutant strains resistant to both phages have disruptive mutations in their rhamnose biosynthesis operon but still possess N-acetylglucosamine in their WTA.