Mikrobiol. Z. 2016; 78(1):71-83.
doi: https://doi.org/10.15407/microbiolj78.01.071

Morphological Heterogeneity of Temperate Erwiniophage 59

Zlatohurska M.A.1, Tovkach F.I.2

1Mechnykov Odesa National University
2 Dvoranska Str., Odesa, 65082, Ukraine

2Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, NAS of Ukraine
154 Akad. Zabolotny Str., Kyiv, 03143, Ukraine

This paper is devoted to the phenomenon of morphological heterogeneity within the population of the temperate erwiniophage 59, which does not have analogies among other bacterial viruses. Aim. To investigate the basic properties of erwiniophage 59 heterogeneous population obtained from different isogenic strains of amilovora-like bacterium Erwinia “horticola” (Eho). Methods. Erwiniophage 59 was obtained by propagation on its traditional host Eho 450, as well as on its three isogenic strains and a related bacterium E. “horticola” 60. Physical and chemical properties of the phage particles were studied using centrifugation in CsCl-gradients, electrophoresis in agarose gels, electron microscopy, restriction analysis of DNA and SDS-PAGE of the virion polypeptides. Results. It was shown that the pool of temperate phage 59 is a heterogeneous population consisting of two phage types when propagated on the mentioned hosts. These types are discrete and have buoyant-density difference of 0.02 g/cm3, that allowed to separate subpopulations for a detailed investigation. The subpopulation with the higher density was determined as the authentic bacteriophage 59 (subpopulation II with capsid diameter of 55.36 nm). The capsid diameter of the subpopulation I particles equals 51.16 nm. Both types ofparticles do not differ by DNA size and have identical restriction patterns. Based on the SmaI-restriction analysis it may be concluded that the DNA packaging remains unchangeable and is carried out according to the headfull packaging mechanism. However, the subpopulation I differs from the original one by a relative content of some polypeptides. Curiously, the subpopulations I and II have different values of lysogenization and spontaneous induction frequencies. Conclusions. An unusual type of morphological heterogeneity of the phage 59 particles was observedfor the first time; this heterogeneity is associated with the presence of two equimolar subpopulations with different physical and chemical parametrs of the virions. Morphological heterogeneity of temperate erwiniophage 59 significantly differs from such of the classical coliphages as T4, P1 and the phage system P2-P4.

Key words: temperate erwiniophage 59, morphological heterogeneity of phage population, physical and chemical properties of particles, restriction analysis of DNA, lysogeny.

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