PloS one

Transcriptomic Characterization of an Infection of Mycobacterium smegmatis by the Cluster A4 Mycobacteriophage Kampy.

PMID 26513661


The mycobacteriophages, phages that infect the genus Mycobacterium, display profound genetic diversity and widespread geographical distribution, and possess significant medical and ecological importance. However, most of the majority of functions of mycobacteriophage proteins and the identity of most genetic regulatory elements remain unknown. We characterized the gene expression profile of Kampy, a cluster A4 mycobacteriophage, during infection of its host, Mycobacterium smegmatis, using RNA-Seq and mass spectrometry. We show that mycobacteriophage Kampy transcription occurs in roughly two phases, an early phase consisting of genes for metabolism, DNA synthesis, and gene regulation, and a late phase consisting of structural genes and lysis genes. Additionally, we identify the earliest genes transcribed during infection, along with several other possible regulatory units not obvious from inspection of Kampy's genomic structure. The transcriptional profile of Kampy appears similar to that of mycobacteriophage TM4 but unlike that of mycobacteriophage Giles, a result which further expands our understanding of the diversity of mycobacteriophage gene expression programs during infection.