Novel phages of Pseudomonas syringae unveil numerous potential auxiliary metabolic genes

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Relatively few phages that infect plant pathogens have been isolated and investigated. The Pseudomonas syringae species complex is present in various environments, including plants. It can cause major crop diseases, such as bacterial canker on apricot trees. This study presents a collection of 25 unique phages genomes that infect P. syringae . These phages were isolated from apricot orchards with bacterial canker symptoms after enrichment with 21 strains of P. syringae . This collection comprises mostly virulent phages, with only three being temperate. They belong to 14 genera, 11 of which are newly discovered, and 18 new species, revealing great genetic diversity within this collection. Novel DNA packaging systems have been identified bioinformatically in one of the new phage species, but experimental confirmation is required to define the precise mechanism. Additionally, many phage genomes contain numerous potential auxiliary metabolic genes with diversified putative functions. At least three phages encode genes involved in bacterial tellurite resistance, a toxic metalloid. This suggests that viruses could play a role in bacterial stress tolerance. This research emphasises the significance of continuing the search for new phages in the agricultural ecosystem to unravel novel ecological diversity and new gene functions. This work contributes to the foundation for future fundamental and applied research on phages infecting phytopathogenic bacteria.

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