Vibrio alginolyticus is a common marine bacterium implicated in disease outbreaks in marine farmed fish and invertebrates. Due to the inappropriate use of antibiotics in aquaculture, alternative therapies have been proposed. One of the most promising options is the use of lytic bacteriophages to control pathogenic bacteria. This work describes the isolation and characterization of a lytic phage (VEN) against a V. alginolyticus strain (V2) isolated from a disease outbreak in common dentex (Dentex dentex) cultured at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) in Crete, Greece. The bacteriophage is morphologically similar to phages from Podoviridae family and remained stable for 1 year at 4 °C and over 1 h when kept at 50 °C. VEN was able to lyse the host bacteria at several multiplicity of infection (MOI) (0.1–100) in liquid cultures. However, it was unable to infect other V. alginolyticus strains. Its genome consists of 44,603 bp with a GC content of 43.5%, while sequence analysis revealed the presence of 54 potential ORFs with a T7-like genomic organization. Almost 65% of the predicted ORFs presented homology with proteins of the vibriophages Vc1 and phi-A318 infecting Vibrio cyclitrophicus and Vibrio alginolyticus, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis applying the amino acid sequence of the large terminase subunit confirmed the close relationship of these phages. Furthermore, the comparison of the RNA polymerase of these phages revealed that the motifs A, B and C related to the catalytic activity and the recognition loop related to promotor identification were also conserved. VEN has an obligate lytic life cycle demonstrated by experimental data and genomic analysis. These results suggest that VEN may provide a good candidate to control recurrent diseases caused by V. alginolyticus at HCMR.
- Genome analysis