2017 Volume 32 Issue 2 Pages 112-117
Termites depend nutritionally on their gut microbes, and protistan, bacterial, and archaeal gut communities have been extensively studied. However, limited information is available on viruses in the termite gut. We herein report the complete genome sequence (99,517 bp) of a phage obtained during a genome analysis of “Candidatus Azobacteroides pseudotrichonymphae” phylotype ProJPt-1, which is an obligate intracellular symbiont of the cellulolytic protist Pseudotrichonympha sp. in the gut of the termite Prorhinotermes japonicus. The genome of the phage, designated ProJPt-Bp1, was circular or circularly permuted, and was not integrated into the two circular chromosomes or five circular plasmids composing the host ProJPt-1 genome. The phage was putatively affiliated with the order Caudovirales based on sequence similarities with several phage-related genes; however, most of the 52 protein-coding sequences had no significant homology to sequences in the databases. The phage genome contained a tRNA-Gln (CAG) gene, which showed the highest sequence similarity to the tRNA-Gln (CAA) gene of the host “Ca. A. pseudotrichonymphae” phylotype ProJPt-1. Since the host genome lacked a tRNA-Gln (CAG) gene, the phage tRNA gene may compensate for differences in codon usage bias between the phage and host genomes. The phage genome also contained a non-coding region with high nucleotide sequence similarity to a region in one of the host plasmids. No other phage-related sequences were found in the host ProJPt-1 genome. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a phage from an obligate, mutualistic endosymbiont permanently associated with eukaryotic cells.