Identification of Receptor Binding Proteins in Flagellotropic Agrobacterium Phage 7-7-1
The rapid discovery of new and diverse bacteriophages has driven the innovation of approaches aimed at detailing interactions with their bacterial hosts. Previous studies on receptor binding proteins (RBPs) mainly relied on their identification in silico and are based on similarities to well-characterized systems. Thus, novel phage RBPs unlike those currently annotated in genomic and proteomic databases remain largely undiscovered. In this study, we employed a screen to identify RBPs in flagellotropic Agrobacterium phage 7-7-1. Flagellotropic phages utilize bacterial flagella as receptors. The screen identified three candidate RBPs, Gp4, Gp102, and Gp44. Homology modelling predicted that Gp4 is a trimeric, tail associated protein with a central β-barrel, while the structure and function of Gp102 and Gp44 are less obvious. Studies with purified Gp41-247 confirmed its ability to bind and interact with host cells, highlighting the robustness of the RBP screen. We also discovered that Gp41-247 inhibits the growth of host cells in a motility and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) dependent fashion. Hence, our results suggest interactions between Gp41-247, rotating flagellar filaments and host glycans to inhibit host cell growth, which presents an impactful and intriguing focus for future studies.