Identification of a potential intron in the bacteriophage ThreeRngTarjay

Brikho, Salar, Alex Jackman, Stephanie B. Conant, Jonathan S. Finkel, and Jacob D. Kagey

In recent years, the overuse of antibiotics has helped create strains of bacteria that are resistant to them. Medical personnel have either needed to increase dosage or use different antibiotics to deal with these resistant bacteria. This is not sustainable, because of the potentially limited antibiotics and the speed at which resistance to them develops. Because of this, an alternate anti-bacterial agent is needed, such as bacteriophage. Bacteriophages are viruses that can infect bacteria, then use the host to generate more phage, lysing the cell and spreading phage particles. Another reason bacteriophages are being researched for bacterial diseases is that they are very host-specific, meaning that each phage will only infect a couple different types of bacteria cells. This is important because anti-biotics are not host specific, which can kill beneficial bacteria in humans while taking care of an infection.

In this paper we describe a chunk of genes of the 113,254 base pair long genome of siphoviridae ThreeRngTarjay, a cluster J phage. A phage that infects Mycobacterium Smegmatis, ThreeRngTarjay was first isolated from a soil sample, then purified, and lastly had its entire genome sequenced. The raw genome data was then annotated using computer programs such as DNA Master, with Glimmer, GeneMark, Phamerator, and NCBI BLAST for data to aid in predicting the exact locations of genes.

In one of the sections we annotated, a prospective intron was identified. Two genes matched a previously annotated gene, but there was a large gap of DNA with no predicted coding potential in between. Introns have been previously been identified in cluster J phage, but cannot be annotated without experimental data. This provides us with a future path for research: isolate RNA from ThreeRngTarjay and identify whether an intron is present where it is predicted.