We have isolated a novel Siphoviridae phage (named Sol-P11) morphotype from the surface sands of the Sahara Desert with a ribbon-like structure at the tail extremity. Sol-P11 was found to grow on a Bacillus subtilis strain isolated from the same environment and to contain a double stranded DNA genome of approximately 120 kb in length incapable of being hydrolyzed by a wide variety of restriction endonucleases. The major constituent proteins of CsCl-purified Sol-P11 virions were 65, 50, 30 and 24 kDa in size, with the 30 kDa polypeptide being the major protein of the 85 nm diameter icosahedral capsid and the other three proteins comprising the major polypeptides of the tail (320 nm in length) and ribbon-like structure. Moreover, different sized phages displaying a Sol-P11 morphology were observed in phage preparations from the Death Valley and Namib deserts. Sol-P11-like phage morphotypes have been previously described, including PBPI, a flagellum-specific phage that infects B. pumilis and phage BcP15 infecting the marine bacterium, Burkholderia cepacia DR11. We thus propose that Sol-P11 represents a member of a novel morphotype of Siphoviridae phages that use a ribbon-like structure, instead of caudal fibers, to attach to their host cell.
Eric Prestel, Christophe Regeard, James Andrews, Philippe Oger and Michael S. DuBow, 2012. A Novel Bacteriophage Morphotype with a Ribbon-like Structure at the Tail Extremity. Research Journal of Microbiology, 7: 75-81.