Phascinating Phages: Genome Annotation of Mycobacteriophage ILeeKay


Samantha Bruinsma*, Jeffrey Jeltema*, José Muro*, Peace Preston*, Alison Schutt*, Michaela Van Riesen*, Alex Yoerger*, and Sara S. Tolsma
Mentor: Dr. Sara Tolsma
Department of Biology

Scientists estimate that there are 1031 bacteriophages (phages), viruses that infect bacteria, on earth (Hatfull, 2015). They compose a dynamic and diverse population that is largely unexplored. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) SEA-PHAGES** program trains undergraduate students to isolate, characterize, and then annotate the genomes of mycobacteriophages using bioinformatics. As part of Northwestern College's SEA-PHAGES phamily[S1] , we annotated the genome of the phage, ILeeKay. Kylie Chapman of Brigham Young University isolated ILeeKay in 2010. It was identified as a Cluster A1 Siphoviridae phage whose plaques exhibit a morphology typical of a lysogenic phage. When we fully annotated this 51,017 base pair genome with a 64% GC content, we found that it contains 91 genes, including genes for bacterial infection, genome replication, capsid production, and genes that support the lysogenic appearance of the plaques. ILeeKay most closely resembles phages PhrostyMug, TheloniousMonk, and Zephyr, each of which are also Cluster A1 phages that we propose are among ILeeKay's nearest evolutionary relatives.
**Science Education Alliance - Phage Hunters Advancing Genomic and Evolutionary Science

[S1]An intended play on words?e