Isolation of a Novel Bacteriophage Speciﬁc for the Periodontal Pathogen Fusobacterium nucleatum
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Fusobacterium nucleatum is a periodontal pathogen that has been directly associated with the development and progression of periodontal disease, a widespread pathology that affects the support tissues of the tooth. We isolated a new bacteriophage (Fnp 02) that specifically infects this bacterium. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the virion is composed of an icosahedral head and a segmented tail. The size of the phage genome was estimated to be approximately 59 kbp of double-stranded DNA. The morphological features and the genetic characteristics suggest that Fnp 02 is part of the Siphoviridae family. Using one-step growth and adsorption experiments, the latent period, burst size, and adsorption rate were estimated to be 15 h, 100 infectious units per cell, and 7.5 10 10 ml min 1, respectively. A small fragment of phage DNA was cloned and sequenced, showing 93% nucleotide identity with the phage PA6 of Propionibacterium acnes and amino acid identity with fragments of two proteins (Gp3 and Gp4) of this phage. To our knowledge, Fnp 02 is the first phage described to infect Fusobacterium nucleatum and provides the base for future exploration of phages in the control of periodontal disease.