In this study, we describe the biological function of the phage-encoded protein RNA polymerase alpha subunit cleavage protein (Rac), a predicted Gcn5-related acetyltransferase encoded by phiKMV-like viruses. These phages encode a single-subunit RNA polymerase for transcription of their late (structure- and lysis-associated) genes, whereas the bacterial RNA polymerase is used at the earlier stages of infection. Rac mediates the inactivation of bacterial transcription by introducing a specific cleavage in the α subunit of the bacterial RNA polymerase. This cleavage occurs within the flexible linker sequence and disconnects the C-terminal domain, required for transcription initiation from most highly active cellular promoters. To achieve this, Rac likely taps into a novel post-translational modification (PTM) mechanism within the host Pseudomonas aeruginosa. From an evolutionary perspective, this novel phage-encoded regulation mechanism confirms the importance of PTMs in the prokaryotic metabolism and represents a new way by which phages can hijack the bacterial host metabolism.
- Host transcriptional shutdown
- Phage-induced acetylation
- Phage–host interactions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases