Molecular investigation of two novel bacteriophages of a facultative methylotroph, Raoultella ornithinolytica: first report of Raoultella phages.


Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Isfahan, Hezar Jereeb Street, Isfahan, 81746-73441, Iran. [Email]


Bacteria of the genus Raoultella are known to inhabit aquatic environments and can be found in medical samples. The pathogenicity of Raoultella ornithinolytica isolates in human has become increasingly important, and several cases of infections have been reported recently. However, there are no reports of isolation of bacteriophages infecting this bacterium. In this study, two novel phages (ISF3 and ISF6) of a methylotrophic Raoultella strain were isolated from sewage. To characterize the isolated phages, morphological features, protein profiles, restriction digestion patterns, and partial genome sequences were studied. Despite morphological differences, electron microscopy revealed that both phages had an icosahedral capsid connected to a contractile tail, suggesting that ISF3 and ISF6 both belong to the family Myoviridae. Partial nucleotide sequences of the ISF3 genome showed 99% to 100% identity to DNA of Klebsiella pneumonia phages KP15, KP27 and BMBT1; however, the restriction digestion profiles of ISF3 genome digested by EcoRI and EcoRV differed from those of Klebsiella phages KP15 and KP27. A partial sequence alignment showed that ISF6 can be classified as a member of a new viral genus due to its significant differences from other previously identified phages. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the isolation and characterization of the specific Raoultella phages that have potential to be used as new pharmaceuticals against R. ornithinolytica.