Characterization of the Genome of the Polyvalent Lytic Bacteriophage GTE2, Which Has Potential for Biocontrol of Gordonia-, Rhodococcus-, and Nocardia-Stabilized Foams in Activated Sludge Plants
Hydrophobic Actinobacteria are commonly associated with the stabilization of foams in activated sludge systems. One possible attractive approach to control these foam-stabilizing organisms is the use of specific bacteriophages. We describe the genome characterization of a novel polyvalent DNA phage, GTE2, isolated from activated sludge. This phage is lytic for Gordonia terrae, Rhodococcus globerulus, Rhodococcus erythropolis, Rhodococcus erythropolis, Nocardia otitidiscaviarum, and Nocardia brasiliensis. Phage GTE2 belongs to the family Siphoviridae, possessing a characteristic icosahedral head encapsulating a double-stranded DNA linear genome (45,530 bp) having 10-bp 3'-protruding cohesive ends. The genome sequence is 98% unique at the DNA level and contains 57 putative genes. The genome can be divided into two components, where the first is modular and encodes phage structural proteins and lysis genes. The second is not modular, and the genes harbored there are involved in DNA replication, repair, and metabolism. Some have no known function. GTE2 shows promising results in controlling stable foam production by its host bacteria under laboratory conditions, suggesting that it may prove useful in the field as a biocontrol agent.