Host RNA polymerase inhibitors encoded by φKMV-like phages of pseudomonas

Evgeny Klimuk, Natalia Akulenko, Kira S. Makarova, Pieter Jan Ceyssens, Ivan Volchenkov, Rob Lavigne, Konstantin Severinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Escherichia coli bacteriophage T7 is a founding member of a large clade of podoviruses encoding a single-subunit RNA polymerase (RNAP). Phages of the family rely on host RNAP for transcription of early viral genes; viral RNAP transcribes non-early viral genes. T7 and its close relatives encode an inhibitor of host RNAP, the gp2 protein. Gp2 is essential for phage development and ensures that host RNAP does not interfere with viral RNAP transcription at late stages of infection. Here, we identify host RNAP inhibitors encoded by a subset of T7 clade phages related to φKMV phage of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We demonstrate that these proteins are functionally identical to T7 gp2 in vivo and in vitro. The ability of some Pseudomonas phage gp2-like proteins to inhibit RNAP is modulated by N-terminal domains, which are absent from the T7 phage homolog. This finding indicates that Pseudomonas phages may use external or internal cues to initiate inhibition of host RNAP transcription and that gp2-like proteins from these phages may be receptors of these cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteriophages T7 and φKMV
  • Pseudomonas
  • RNA polymerase
  • RNA polymerase inhibitor


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