Evolution of Lactococcus lactis phages within a cheese factory

  • Rousseau G
  • Moineau S
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We have sequenced the double-stranded DNA genomes of six lactococcal phages (SL4, CB13, CB14, CB19, CB20, and GR7) from the 936 group that were isolated over a 9-year period from whey samples obtained from a Canadian cheese factory. These six phages infected the same two industrial Lactococcus lactis strains out of 30 tested. The CB14 and GR7 genomes were found to be 100% identical even though they were isolated 14 months apart, indicating that a phage can survive in a cheese plant for more than a year. The other four genomes were related but notably different. The length of the genomes varied from 28,144 to 32,182 bp, and they coded for 51 to 55 open reading frames. All five genomes possessed a 3' overhang cos site that was 11 nucleotides long. Several structural proteins were also identified by nano-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, confirming bioinformatic analyses. Comparative analyses suggested that the most recently isolated phages (CB19 and CB20) were derived, in part, from older phage isolates (CB13 and CB14/GR7). The organization of the five distinct genomes was similar to the previously sequenced lactococcal phage genomes of the 936 group, and from these sequences, a core genome was determined for lactococcal phages of the 936 group.

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