Lateral transduction is inherent to the life cycle of the archetypical Salmonella phage P22

Alfred Fillol-Salom, Rodrigo Bacigalupe, Suzanne Humphrey, Yin Ning Chiang, John Chen*, José R. Penadés*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Lysogenic induction ends the stable association between a bacteriophage and its host, and the transition to the lytic cycle begins with early prophage excision followed by DNA replication and packaging (ERP). This temporal program is considered universal for P22-like temperate phages, though there is no direct evidence to support the timing and sequence of these events. Here we report that the long-standing ERP program is an observation of the experimentally favored Salmonella phage P22 tsc229 heat-inducible mutant, and that wild-type P22 actually follows the replication-packaging-excision (RPE) program. We find that P22 tsc229 excises early after induction, but P22 delays excision to just before it is detrimental to phage production. This allows P22 to engage in lateral transduction. Thus, at minimal expense to itself, P22 has tuned the timing of excision to balance propagation with lateral transduction, powering the evolution of its host through gene transfer in the interest of self-preservation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6510
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021


  • lysogenic induction
  • bacteriophage
  • Salmonella phage
  • lateral transduction


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