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Listeria phage LP-018 is the only phage from a diverse collection of 120 phages able to form plaques on a phage-resistant Listeria monocytogenes strain lacking rhamnose in its cell wall teichoic acids. The aim of this study was to characterize phage LP-018 and to identify what types of mutations can confer resistance to LP-018. Whole genome sequencing and transmission electron microscopy revealed LP-018 to be a member of the Homburgvirus genus. One-step-growth curve analysis of LP-018 revealed an eclipse period of ~60–90 min and a burst size of ~2 PFU per infected cell. Despite slow growth and small burst size, LP-018 can inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes at a high multiplicity of infection. Ten distinct LP-018-resistant mutants were isolated from infected Listeria monocytogenes 10403S and characterized by whole genome sequencing. In each mutant, a single mutation was identified in either the LMRG_00278 or LMRG_01613 encoding genes. Interesting, LP-018 was able to bind to a representative phage-resistant mutant with a mutation in each gene, suggesting these mutations confer resistance through a mechanism independent of adsorption inhibition. Despite forming plaques on the rhamnose deficient 10403S mutant, LP-018 showed reduced binding efficiency, and we did not observe inhibition of the strain under the conditions tested. Two mutants of LP-018 were also isolated and characterized, one with a single SNP in a gene encoding a BppU domain protein that likely alters its host range. LP-018 is shown to be a unique Listeria phage that, with additional evaluation, may be useful in biocontrol applications that aim to reduce the emergence of phage resistance.

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