Faculty Publications

Document Type



Bacteriophage, Phage genome configuration, Direct terminal repeat, Genome packaging mechanisms, Terminus prediction, Neighboring coverage ratio, Read edge frequency

Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC Genomics






Background: Most tailed bacteriophages (phages) feature linear dsDNA genomes. Characterizing novel phages requires an understanding of complete genome sequences, including the definition of genome physical ends.

Result: We sequenced 48 Bacillus cereus phage isolates and analyzed Next-generation sequencing (NGS) data to resolve the genome configuration of these novel phages. Most assembled contigs featured reads that mapped to both contig ends and formed circularized contigs. Independent assemblies of 31 nearly identical I48-like Bacillus phage isolates allowed us to observe that the assembly programs tended to produce random cleavage on circularized contigs. However, currently available assemblers were not capable of reporting the underlying phage genome configuration from sequence data. To identify the genome configuration of sequenced phage in silico, a terminus prediction method was developed by means of ‘neighboring coverage ratios’ and ‘read edge frequencies’ from read alignment files. Termini were confirmed by primer walking and supported by phylogenetic inference of large DNA terminase protein sequences.

Conclusions: The Terminus package using phage NGS data along with the contig circularity could efficiently identify the proximal positions of phage genome terminus. Complete phage genome sequences allow a proposed characterization of the potential packaging mechanisms and more precise genome annotation.


Department of Biology


First published in BMC Genomics, v.18 n.350 (2017), by the BioMed Central Ltd. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-017-3744-0

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library

Date Digital



©2017 Cheng-Han Chung, Michael H. Walter, Luobin Yang, Shu-Chuan (Grace) Chen, Vern Winston, and Michael A. Thomas. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



File Format


Included in

Biology Commons