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An essential role for the baseplate protein Gp45 in phage adsorption to Staphylococcus aureus

Li, X and Koç, C and Kühner, P and Stierhof, YD and Krismer, B and Enright, MC and Penadés, JR and Wolz, C and Stehle, T and Cambillau, C and Peschel, A and Xia, G (2016) An essential role for the baseplate protein Gp45 in phage adsorption to Staphylococcus aureus. Scientific Reports, 6. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Despite the importance of phages in driving horizontal gene transfer (HGT) among pathogenic bacteria, the underlying molecular mechanisms mediating phage adsorption to S. aureus are still unclear. Phage φ11 is a siphovirus with a high transducing efficiency. Here, we show that the tail protein Gp45 localized within the φ11 baseplate. Phage φ11 was efficiently neutralized by anti-Gp45 serum, and its adsorption to host cells was inhibited by recombinant Gp45 in a dose-dependent manner. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that biotin-labelled Gp45 efficiently stained the wild-type S. aureus cell but not the double knockout mutant ΔtarM/S, which lacks both α- and β-O-GlcNAc residues on its wall teichoic acids (WTAs). Additionally, adsorption assays indicate that GlcNAc residues on WTAs and O-acetyl groups at the 6-position of muramic acid residues in peptidoglycan are essential components of the φ11 receptor. The elucidation of Gp45-involved molecular interactions not only broadens our understanding of siphovirus-mediated HGT, but also lays the groundwork for the development of sensitive affinity-based diagnostics and therapeutics for S. aureus infection.

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