Genome sequence and gene expression of Bacillus anthracis bacteriophage Fah

Leonid Minakhin, Ekaterina Semenova, Jing Liu, Anatoly Vasilov, Elena Severinova, Tarasii Gabisonia, Ross Inman, Arcady Mushegian, Konstantin Severinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Fah, a lytic bacteriophage of Bacillus anthracis, is used widely in the former Soviet Union to identify anthrax bacteria. Here, we present the analysis of a 37,974 bp sequence of the Fah genome and examine gene expression of the phage in a model host, Bacillus cereus. Half of the Fah genome contains genes coding for structural proteins and host lysis functions in an arrangement typical of Syphoviridae. The other half of the genome contains genes coding for enzymes of viral genome replication and for numerous predicted transcription factors that are likely to regulate viral gene expression. Primer extension, in vitro transcription assays, and gene array analysis identified temporal classes of Fah genes and allowed location of viral promoters. Fah does not execute host transcription shut-off and relies on host RNA polymerase (RNAP) σA holoenzyme for transcription of its early and late genes. In addition, Fah encodes a sigma factor, σFah, a close relative of Bacillus sporulation factor σF that directs bacterial RNAP to at least one late viral promoter. σFah is negatively regulated by host SpoIIAB, an anti-sigma factor that controls sporulation. Thus, σFah may link phage gene expression to sporulation of the host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Bacteriophage
  • Bacteriophage infection
  • Genome
  • RNA polymerase sigma factor


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