Background: Prophages, integral components of many bacterial genomes, play significant roles in cognate host bacteria, such as virulence, toxin biosynthesis and secretion, fitness cost, genomic variations, and evolution. Many prophages and prophage-like elements present in sequenced bacterial genomes, such as Bifidobacteria, Lactococcus and Streptococcus, have been described. However, information for the prophage of Mycobacterium remains poorly defined.
Results: In this study, based on the search of the complete genome database from GenBank, the Whole Genome Shotgun (WGS) databases, and some published literatures, thirty-three prophages were described in detail. Eleven of them were full-length prophages, and others were prophage-like elements. Eleven prophages were firstly revealed. They were phiMAV_1, phiMAV_2, phiMmcs_1, phiMmcs_2, phiMkms_1, phiMkms_2, phiBN42_1, phiBN44_1, phiMCAN_1, phiMycsm_1, and phiW7S_1. Their genomes and gene contents were firstly analyzed. Furthermore, comparative genomics analyses among mycobacterioprophages showed that full-length prophage phi172_2 belonged to mycobacteriophage Cluster A and the phiMmcs_1, phiMkms_1, phiBN44_1, and phiMCAN_1 shared high homology and could be classified into one group.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first systematic characterization of mycobacterioprophages, their genomic organization and phylogeny. This information will afford more understanding of the biology of Mycobacterium.