Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Virology Journal and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research

Characterization and determination of holin protein of Streptococcus suis bacteriophage SMP in heterologous host

Yibo Shi, Yaxian Yan*, Wenhui Ji, Bin Du, Xiangpeng Meng, Hengan Wang and Jianhe Sun*

Author Affiliations

Department of Animal Science, School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

For all author emails, please log on.

Virology Journal 2012, 9:70  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-70

Published: 22 March 2012



Holins are a group of phage-encoded membrane proteins that control access of phage-encoded endolysins to the peptidoglycan, and thereby trigger the lysis process at a precise time point as the 'lysis clock'. SMP is an isolated and characterized Streptococcus suis lytic phage. The aims of this study were to determine the holin gene, HolSMP, in the genome of SMP, and characterized the function of holin, HolSMP, in phage infection.


HolSMP was predicted to encode a small membrane protein with three hydrophobic transmembrane helices. During SMP infections, HolSMP was transcribed as a late gene and HolSMP accumulated harmlessly in the cell membrane before host cell lysis. Expression of HolSMP in Escherichia coli induced an increase in cytoplasmic membrane permeability, an inhibition of host cell growth and significant cell lysis in the presence of LySMP, the endolysin of phage SMP. HolSMP was prematurely triggered by the addition of energy poison to the medium. HolSMP complemented the defective λ S allele in a non-suppressing Escherichia coli strain to produce phage plaques.


Our results suggest that HolSMP is the holin protein of phage SMP and a two-step lysis system exists in SMP.

Streptococcus suis; Bacteriophage; Holin; Lysin