Acinetobacter baumannii is a gram-negative, non-fermenting aerobic bacterium which is often associated with hospital-acquired infections and known for its ability to develop resistance to antibiotics, form biofilms, and survive for long periods in hospital environments. In this study, we present two novel viruses, vB_AbaP_AS11 and vB_AbaP_AS12, specifically infecting and lysing distinct multidrug-resistant clinical A. baumannii strains with K19 and K27 capsular polysaccharide structures, respectively. Both phages demonstrate rapid adsorption, short latent periods, and high burst sizes in one-step growth experiments. The AS11 and AS12 linear double-stranded DNA genomes of 41,642 base pairs (bp) and 41,402 bp share 86.3% nucleotide sequence identity with the most variable regions falling in host receptor-recognition genes. These genes encode tail spikes possessing depolymerizing activities towards corresponding capsular polysaccharides which are the primary bacterial receptors. We described AS11 and AS12 genome organization and discuss the possible regulation of transcription. The overall genomic architecture and gene homology analyses showed that the phages are new representatives of the recently designated Fri1virus genus of the Autographivirinae subfamily within the Podoviridae family.
Keywords: Acinetobacter baumannii; Fri1virus; Podoviridae; RNA polymerase; bacteriophage; capsule types; tail spike.