Laboratory of Microbial Viruses

Andrey V. Letarov
Dr.Sci. (Biology)
Head of Laboratory
INMI, room 310
Телефон +7 (499) 135-72-64

Research directions:

  • Structure, functioning  and adaptation of bacteriophage adsorption apparatus
  • Bacteriophage ecology in natural symbiotic and free-living high-density bacterial communities
  • Bacteriophage resistance mechanisms in bacteria blocking phage adsorption and to mechanisms used by phages to overcome such resistance
  • Biological diversity of phages
  • Structure of microbial and viral communities in meromictic lakes and interactions of bacteria and viruses in these communities

Key achievements:

  • New type of enzymatic activity discovered in receptor-binding protein of bacteriophage G7C (Prokhorov et al. 2017)
  • Novel type of DNA hypermodification with archeosin (G+) replacing for G residues found in bacteriophage 9g (Kulikov et al. 2014, Thiaville et al. 2016)
  • High-density Chlorobium community associated with bacteriophages and plasmids was described in Trekhtzvetnoe lake, Murmansk region (Savvichev et al. 2018)
  • Branched lateral tail fibers helping to penetrate O-antigen shield was found in T5-like bacteriophages (Golomidova et al. 2016)


Selected publications:

  1. Savvichev AS, Babenko VV, Lunina ON, Letarova MA, Boldyreva DI, Veslopolova EF, Demidenko NA, Kokryatskaya NM, Krasnova ED, Gaysin VA, Kostryukova ES, Gorlenko VM, Letarov AV. Sharp water column stratification with an extremely dense microbial population in a small meromictic lake, Trekhtzvetnoe. Environ Microbiol. 2018 Aug 16. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14384. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30117254.
  2. Egilmez HI, Morozov AY, Clokie MRJ, Shan J, Letarov A, Galyov EE. Temperature-dependent virus lifecycle choices may reveal and predict facets of the biology of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria. Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 25;8(1):9642. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27716-3. PubMed PMID: 29941954; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6018541.
  3. Letarov AV, Kulikov EE. Adsorption of Bacteriophages on Bacterial Cells. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2017 Dec;82(13):1632-1658. doi: 10.1134/S0006297917130053. Review. PubMed PMID: 29523063.
  4. Prokhorov NS, Riccio C, Zdorovenko EL, Shneider MM, Browning C, Knirel YA, Leiman PG, Letarov AV. Function of bacteriophage G7C esterase tailspike in host cell adsorption. Mol Microbiol. 2017 Aug;105(3):385-398. doi: 10.1111/mmi.13710.  Epub 2017 Jun 19. PubMed PMID: 28513100.
  5. Thiaville JJ, Kellner SM, Yuan Y, Hutinet G, Thiaville PC, Jumpathong W, Mohapatra S, Brochier-Armanet C, Letarov AV, Hillebrand R, Malik CK, Rizzo CJ, Dedon PC, de Crécy-Lagard V. Novel genomic island modifies DNA with 7-deazaguanine derivatives. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Mar 15;113(11):E1452-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518570113. Epub 2016 Feb 29. PubMed PMID:  26929322; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4801273.
  6. Golomidova AK, Kulikov EE, Prokhorov NS, Guerrero-Ferreira RС, Knirel YA, Kostryukova ES, Tarasyan KK, Letarov AV. Branched Lateral Tail Fiber Organization in T5-Like Bacteriophages DT57C and DT571/2 is Revealed by Genetic and Functional Analysis. Viruses. 2016 Jan 21;8(1). pii: E26. doi: 10.3390/v8010026. PubMed PMID: 26805872; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4728585.
  7. Kulikov EE, Golomidova AK, Letarova MA, Kostryukova ES, Zelenin AS, Prokhorov  NS, Letarov AV. Genomic sequencing and biological characteristics of a novel Escherichia coli bacteriophage 9g, a putative representative of a new Siphoviridae genus. Viruses. 2014 Dec 19;6(12):5077-92. doi: 10.3390/v6125077. PubMed PMID: 25533657; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4276943.
  8. Knirel YA, Prokhorov NS, Shashkov AS, Ovchinnikova OG, Zdorovenko EL, Liu B, Kostryukova ES, Larin AK, Golomidova AK, Letarov AV. Variations in O-antigen biosynthesis and O-acetylation associated with altered phage sensitivity in Escherichia coli 4s. J Bacteriol. 2015 Mar;197(5):905-12. doi: 10.1128/JB.02398-14. Epub 2014 Dec 15. PubMed PMID: 25512310; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4325112.
  9. Dąbrowska K, Miernikiewicz P, Piotrowicz A, Hodyra K, Owczarek B, Lecion D, Kaźmierczak Z, Letarov A, Górski A. Immunogenicity studies of proteins forming the T4 phage head surface. J Virol. 2014 Nov;88(21):12551-7. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02043-14. Epub 2014 Aug 20. PubMed PMID: 25142581; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4248953.
  10. Letarov AV, Krisch HM. The episodic evolution of fibritin: traces of ancient  global environmental alterations may remain in the genomes of T4-like phages. Ecol Evol. 2013 Sep;3(10):3628-35. doi: 10.1002/ece3.730. Epub 2013 Sep 1. PubMed PMID: 24223296; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3797505.