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Bacteriophage ICP1: A Persistent Predator of Vibrio cholerae.


Bacteriophages or phages-viruses of bacteria-are abundant and considered to be highly diverse. Interestingly, a particular group of lytic Vibrio cholerae-specific phages (vibriophages) of the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh cholera phage 1 (ICP1) lineage show high levels of genome conservation over large spans of time and geography, despite a constant coevolutionary arms race with their host. From a collection of 67 sequenced ICP1 isolates, mostly from clinical samples, we find these phages have mosaic genomes consisting of large, conserved modules disrupted by variable sequences that likely evolve mostly through mobile endonuclease-mediated recombination during coinfection. Several variable regions have been associated with adaptations against antiphage elements in V. cholerae; notably, this includes ICP1's CRISPR-Cas system. The ongoing association of ICP1 and V. cholerae in cholera-endemic regions makes this system a rich source for discovery of novel defense and counterdefense strategies in bacteria-phage conflicts in nature.

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