Background: Bacteriophages (phages) have been used extensively as analytical tools to type bacterial cultures and recently for control of zoonotic foodborne pathogens in foods and in animal reservoirs.
Methods: We examined the host range, morphology, genome and proteome of the lytic E. coli O157 phage rV5, derived from phage V5, which is a member of an Escherichia coli O157:H7 phage typing set.
Results: Phage rV5 is a member of the Myoviridae family possessing an icosahedral head of 91 nm between opposite apices. The extended tail measures 121 x 17 nm and has a sheath of 44 x 20 nm and a 7 nm-wide core in the contracted state. It possesses a 137,947 bp genome (43.6 mol%GC) which encodes 233 ORFs and six tRNAs. Until recently this virus appeared to be phylogenetically isolated with almost 70% of its gene products ORFans. rV5 is closely related to coliphages Delta and vB-EcoM-FY3, and more distantly related to Salmonella phages PVP-SE1 and SSE-121, Cronobacter sakazakii phage vB_CsaM_GAP31, and coliphages phAPEC8 and phi92. A complete shotgun proteomic analysis was carried out on rV5, extending what had been gleaned from the genomic analyses. Host range studies revealed that rV5 is active against several other E. coli.