Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

John H. Paul, Ph.D.


Lysogeny, Sporulation, Bacteria, Plasmids, Marine


Viruses are the most abundant biological entities in the ocean and are believed to contribute to nutrient cycling, bacterial diversity, and horizontal gene exchange. However, little is known about the relationship between temperate phages and their hosts in marine environments. In this thesis, phage-host systems from the Gulf of Mexico were used to study the influence of temperate phages in bacteria. PhiHAP-1 is a temperate myovirus induced with mitomycin C from Halomonas aquamarina isolate. The genome of this phage was 39,245 nucleotides long and contained 46 predicted genes. Besides genes involved in lysogeny, PhiHAP-1 contained a protelomerase, which is responsible for resolution of telomeric ends in linear plasmid-like phages. Hybridization studies and PCR analysis indicated not only a lack of integration of the prophage in the host chromosome, but differences in genome arrangement between the prophage and virion forms of PhiHAP-1.

These results suggest that PhiHAP-1 exists as a non-integrating linear phage with telomeric ends. Eleven pigmented Bacillus spp. isolates were examined for the occurrence of lysogeny and sporulation through induction with mitomycin C and decoyinine, respectively. The results from these experiments suggested a variety of interactions can occur between phages and their hosts, some of which may influence sporulation. The lysogenic strain B14905 had high frequency of sporulation and was selected for further analysis. The genome of B14905 contained 4 prophage-like regions, one of which was independently sequenced from an induced lysate. PCR and TEM analysis of a mitomycin C induced lysate indicated that two of these regions were inducible prophage, one was a defective phage, and one was a non-inducible phage remnant. One of the inducible prophages contained a transcriptional regulator that is hypothesized to be involved in regulation of host sporulation.

The diversity of prophage and prophage-like elements found in B14905 suggest that the genetic diversity of phages in the oceans is vast. The studies of the temperate phages from H. aquamarina and Bacillus spp. isolates illustrates that integration of molecular, genomic, and function studies can be used to provide insight into the influence of prophage on host bacteria.