Interplay Between Bacteriophages and Restriction-Modification Systems in Enterococci

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Abstract

The complete genomes of Enterococcus faecalis bacteriophages were analyzed for tetranucleotide words avoidance. Very similar tetranucleotide composition was found in all tested genomes with strong underrepresentation of palindromic GATC and GGCC words. This avoidance could be explained as a protection mechanism against host restriction-modification systems as a clear correlation was found between avoidance of palindromic words and the specificity of E. faecalis restriction and modification systems. No similar avoidance of tetranucleotide words was observed for non-palindromic words. A weak correlation was observed between avoidance of tetranucleotide palindromes in bacteriophage genomes and the possession of phage encoded DNA methyltransferases confirming the interrelation between bacteriophage genomes composition and restriction and modification systems in enterococci

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