The complete genome sequence

The genomic DNA sequence of a novel enteric uncultured microphage, ΦCA82 from a turkey gastrointestinal system was determined utilizing metagenomics techniques. The entire circular, single-stranded nucleotide sequence of the genome was 5,514 nucleotides. The ΦCA82 genome is quite different from other microviruses as indicated by comparisons of nucleotide similarity, predicted protein similarity, and functional classifications. Only three genes showed significant similarity to microviral proteins as determined by local alignments using BLAST analysis. ORF1 encoded a predicted phage F capsid protein that was phylogenetically most similar to the Microviridae ΦMH2K member’s major coat protein. The ΦCA82 genome also encoded a predicted minor capsid protein (ORF2) and putative replication initiation protein (ORF3) most similar to the microviral bacteriophage SpV4. The distant evolutionary relationship of ΦCA82 suggests that the divergence of this novel turkey microvirus from other microviruses may reflect unique evolutionary pressures encountered within the turkey gastrointestinal system.
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Metagenomics analyses have lead to the discovery of a variety of microbial nucleotide sequences from environmental samples. These techniques have also allowed for the discovery of uncultured viral nucleotide sequences that are commonly from bacteriophages that has also resulted in the discovery of useful enzymes for molecular biology. There has been a resurgent interest in bacteriophage biology and their use or use of phage gene products as antibacterial agents. Bacteriophages are thought to be the most abundant life form as a group and the importance of phage to bacterial evolution, the role of phage or prophage encoded virulence factors that contribute to bacterial infectious diseases and their contribution to horizontal gene transfer cannot be over stated. Additionally, the contribution to microbial ecology and to agricultural production is also extremely important.

Enteric diseases are an important economic production problem for the poultry industry worldwide. One of the major economically important enteric diseases for the poultry industry are the poult enteritis complex (PEC) and poult enteritis mortality syndrome (PEMS) in turkeys and a runting-stunting syndrome (RSS) in broiler chickens. Consequently, studies have been ongoing to identify novel enteric viruses among poultry species at our laboratory. In a recent study, we utilized the Roche/454 Life Sciences GS-FLX platform to compile an RNA virus metagenome from turkey flocks experiencing enteric disease. This approach yielded numerous sequences homologous to viruses in the BLAST nr protein database, many of which have not been described in turkeys.

Additionally, we have successfully applied a random PCR-based method for detection of unknown microorganisms from enteric samples of turkeys that resulted in identification of genomic sequences and subsequent determination of the full-length genome from a previously uncultured parvovirus. During these ongoing investigations to further characterize the turkey gut microbiome and identify novel viral pathogens of poultry, bacteriophage genomic sequences have also been identified. Herein we report the complete genomic sequence of a putative novel member of the Microviridae obtained from turkey gastrointestinal DNA samples utilizing metagenomics approaches. The protein sequences of ΦCA82 were most similar to those of Chlamydia phages.