Background: The Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) is a versatile group of Gram negative organisms that can be found throughout the environment in sources such as soil, water, and plants. While BCC bacteria can be involved in beneficial interactions with plants, they are also considered opportunistic pathogens, specifically in patients with cystic fibrosis and chronic granulomatous disease. These organisms also exhibit resistance to many antibiotics, making conventional treatment often unsuccessful. KS10 was isolated as a prophage of B. cenocepacia K56-2, a clinically relevant strain of the BCC. Our objective was to sequence the genome of this phage and also determine if this prophage encoded any virulence determinants.
Results: KS10 is a 37,635 base pairs (bp) transposable phage of the opportunistic pathogen Burkholderia cenocepacia. Genome sequence analysis and annotation of this phage reveals that KS10 shows the closest sequence homology to Mu and BcepMu. KS10 was found to be a prophage in three different strains of B. cenocepacia, including strains K56-2, J2315, and C5424, and seven tested clinical isolates of B. cenocepacia, but no other BCC species. A survey of 23 strains and 20 clinical isolates of the BCC revealed that KS10 is able to form plaques on lawns of B. ambifaria LMG 19467, B. cenocepacia PC184, and B. stabilis LMG 18870.
Conclusion: KS10 is a novel phage with a genomic organization that differs from most phages in that its capsid genes are not aligned into one module but rather separated by approximately 11 kb, giving evidence of one or more prior genetic rearrangements. There were no potential virulence factors identified in KS10, though many hypothetical proteins were identified with no known function.