Phage SPb and other Bacillus Genes

S. epidermidis RP62A harbors a Bacillus subtilis SPyb-like phage which is unique to this strain [104]. The phage genome has obviously undergone multiple recombination events in its staphylococcal host, resulting in a mosaic structure carrying IS elements and an LPXTG-anchored cell wall protein gene [17]. Both S. epidermidis RP62A and ATCC 12228 harbor the cap operon, which originates from B. anthracis and encodes a polyglutamate capsule. The capsule is a major virulence factor in B. anthracis and presence of the cap genes and the SPyb-like phage indicates that S. epidermidis is capable of exchanging genetic material with bacilli, which is a significant and surprising result of the genome sequencing projects.

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