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Identification of a novel bacterial receptor that binds tail tubular proteins and mediates phage infection of Vibrio parahaemolyticus

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-04-20, 08:57 authored by Maozhi Hu, Hui Zhang, Dan Gu, Yi Ma, Xiaohui Zhou

The adsorption of phages to hosts is the first step of phage infection. Studies have shown that tailed phages use tail fibres or spikes to recognize bacterial receptors and mediate adsorption. However, whether other phage tail components can also recognize host receptors is unknown. To identify potential receptors, we screened a transposon mutagenesis library of the marine pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus and discovered that a vp0980 mutant (vp0980 encodes a predicted transmembrane protein) could not be lysed by phage OWB. Complementation of this mutant with wild-type vp0980 in trans restored phage-mediated lysis. Phage adsorption and confocal microscopy assays demonstrated that phage OWB had dramatically reduced adsorption to the vp0980 mutant compared to that to the wild type. Pulldown assays showed that phage tail tubular proteins A and B (TTPA and TTPB) interact with Vp0980, suggesting that Vp0980 is a TTPA and TTPB receptor. Vp0980 lacking the outer membrane region (aa 114–127) could not bind to TTPA and TTPB, resulting in reduced phage adsorption. These results strongly indicated that TTPA and TTPB binding with their receptor Vp0980 mediates phage adsorption and subsequent bacterial lysis. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first report of a bacterial receptor for phage tail tubular proteins.


This study was partially supported by the USDA-NIFA grants (CONS00935 and CONS09352).