Development of giant bacteriophage φKZ is independent of the host transcription apparatus

Pieter Jan Ceyssens, Leonid Minakhin, An van den Bossche, Maria Yakunina, Evgeny Klimuk, Bob Blasdel, Jeroen de Smet, Jean Paul Noben, Udo Bläsi, Konstantin Severinov, Rob Lavigne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage φKZ is the type representative of the giant phage genus, which is characterized by unusually large virions and genomes. By unraveling the transcriptional map of the ∼280-kb φKZ genome to single-nucleotide resolution, we combine 369 φKZ genes into 134 operons. Early transcription is initiated from highly conserved AT-rich promoters distributed across the φKZ genome and located on the same strand of the genome. Early transcription does not require phage or host protein synthesis. Transcription of middle and late genes is dependent on protein synthesis and mediated by poorly conserved middle and late promoters. Unique to φKZ is its ability to complete its infection in the absence of bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) enzyme activity. We propose that transcription of the φKZ genome is performed by the consecutive action of two φKZ-encoded, noncanonical multisubunit RNAPs, one of which is packed within the virion, another being the product of early genes. This unique, rifampin-resistant transcriptional machinery is conserved within the diverse giant phage genus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10501-10510
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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