Revealing bacterial targets of growth inhibitors encoded by bacteriophage T7

Shahar Molshanski-Mor, Ido Yosef, Ruth Kiro, Rotem Edgar, Miriam Manor, Michael Gershovits, Mia Laserson, Tal Pupko, Udi Qimron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today's arsenal of antibiotics is ineffective against some emerging strains of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Novel inhibitors of bacterial growth therefore need to be found. The target of such bacterialgrowth inhibitors must be identified, and one way to achieve this is by locating mutations that suppress their inhibitory effect. Here, we identified five growth inhibitors encoded by T7 bacteriophage. High-throughput sequencing of genomic DNA of resistant bacterial mutants evolving against three of these inhibitors revealed unique mutations in three specific genes.We found that a nonessential host gene, ppiB, is required for growth inhibition by one bacteriophage inhibitor and another nonessential gene, pcnB, is required for growth inhibition by a different inhibitor. Notably, we found a previously unidentified growth inhibitor, gene product (Gp) 0.6, that interacts with the essential cytoskeleton protein MreB and inhibits its function. We further identified mutations in two distinct regions in the mreB gene that overcome this inhibition. Bacterial two-hybrid assay and accumulation of Gp0.6 only in MreB-expressing bacteria confirmed interaction of MreB and Gp0.6. Expression of Gp0.6 resulted in lemon-shaped bacteria followed by cell lysis, as previously reported for MreB inhibitors. The described approach may be extended for the identification of new growth inhibitors and their targets across bacterial species and in higher organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18715-18720
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2014


FundersFunder number
European Research Council336079
Israel Science Foundation268/14, 1092/13


    • Bacterial cytoskeleton
    • Bacteriophage biology
    • High-throughput DNA sequencing
    • Host takeover
    • Target identification


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