Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37531269
Link to DOI – 10.1099/mic.0.001374
Microbiology (Reading) 2023 Aug; 169(8):
Phages are ubiquitous in nature, and bacteria with very different genomics, metabolisms, and lifestyles are subjected to their predation. Yet, the defence systems that allow bacteria to resist their phages have rarely been explored experimentally outside a very limited number of model organisms. Actinobacteria (Actinomycetota) are a phylum of GC-rich Gram-positive bacteria, which often produce an important diversity of secondary metabolites. Despite being ubiquitous in a wide range of environments, from soil to fresh and sea water but also the gut microbiome, relatively little is known about the anti-phage arsenal of Actinobacteria. In this work, we used DefenseFinder to systematically detect 131 anti-phage defence systems in 22803 fully sequenced prokaryotic genomes, among which are 2253 Actinobacteria of more than 700 species. We show that, like other bacteria, Actinobacteria encode many diverse anti-phage systems that are often encoded on mobile genetic elements. We further demonstrate that most detected defence systems are absent or rarer in Actinobacteria than in other bacteria, while a few rare systems are enriched (notably gp29-gp30 and Wadjet). We characterize the spatial distribution of anti-phage systems on Streptomyces chromosomes and show that some defence systems (e.g. RM systems) tend to be encoded in the core region, while others (e.g. Lamassu and Wadjet) are enriched towards the extremities. Overall, our results suggest that Actinobacteria might be a source of novel anti-phage systems and provide clues to characterize mechanistic aspects of known anti-phage systems.