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1.  Lytic bacteriophages 
Bacteriophage  2013;3(2):e25518.
Foodborne illnesses resulting from the consumption of produce commodities contaminated with enteric pathogens continue to be a significant public health issue. Lytic bacteriophages may provide an effective and natural intervention to reduce bacterial pathogens on fresh and fresh-cut produce commodities. The use of multi-phage cocktails specific for a single pathogen has been most frequently assessed on produce commodities to minimize the development of bacteriophage insensitive mutants (BIM) in target pathogen populations. Regulatory approval for the use of several lytic phage products specific for bacterial pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes in foods and on food processing surfaces has been granted by various agencies in the US and other countries, possibly allowing for the more widespread use of bacteriophages in the decontamination of fresh and minimally processed produce. Research studies have shown lytic bacteriophages specific for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes have been effective in reducing pathogen populations on leafy greens, sprouts and tomatoes.
PMCID: PMC3821672  PMID: 24228223
bacteriophages; lytic; leafy greens; melons; sprouts; produce; vegetables; Escherichia coli O157:H7; Salmonella; Listeria monocytogenes
2.  Broad-Host-Range Yersinia Phage PY100: Genome Sequence, Proteome Analysis of Virions, and DNA Packaging Strategy▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;190(1):332-342.
PY100 is a lytic bacteriophage with a broad host range within the genus Yersinia. The phage forms plaques on strains of the three human pathogenic species Yersinia enterocolitica, Y. pseudotuberculosis, and Y. pestis at 37°C. PY100 was isolated from farm manure and intended to be used in phage therapy trials. PY100 has an icosahedral capsid containing double-stranded DNA and a contractile tail. The genome consists of 50,291 bp and is predicted to contain 93 open reading frames (ORFs). PY100 gene products were found to be homologous to the capsid proteins and proteins involved in DNA metabolism of the enterobacterial phage T1; PY100 tail proteins possess homologies to putative tail proteins of phage AaΦ23 of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. In a proteome analysis of virion particles, 15 proteins of the head and tail structures were identified by mass spectrometry. The putative gene product of ORF2 of PY100 shows significant homology to the gene 3 product (small terminase subunit) of Salmonella phage P22 that is involved in packaging of the concatemeric phage DNA. The packaging mechanism of PY100 was analyzed by hybridization and sequence analysis of DNA isolated from virion particles. Newly replicated PY100 DNA is cut initially at a pac recognition site, which is located in the coding region of ORF2.
PMCID: PMC2223727  PMID: 17965162
3.  Evaluation of seven experimental phages for inclusion in the international phage set for the epidemiological typing of Listeria monocytogenes. 
The purpose of our study was to evaluate the inclusion of seven experimental phages into the international phage set for subtyping Listeria monocytogenes. The seven additional phages included the broad-host-range virulent Myoviridae phage A511 (M. J. Loessner, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 57:1912-1918, 1991), three temperate phages from the Danish subsystem for typing serotype 1/2 strains (12682, 6223, and 5775) (P. Gerner-Smidt, V.T. Rosdahl, and W. Frederiksen, APMIS 101:160-167, 1993), and three temperate phages isolated by this laboratory in France (9425, 1313, and 197). A panel of 395 Listeria monocytogenes isolates (including 180 that were non-phage typeable by the international set) were used in the study for a comparison of the lytic spectra of the various bacteriophages. These results showed that the inclusion of five of the experimental phages contributed greatly to the overall typeability and discriminatory power of the system, especially for strains within serogroup 1/2.
PMCID: PMC168643  PMID: 9292987
4.  Real-time quantitative PCR to discriminate and quantify lambdoid bacteriophages of Escherichia coli K-12 
Bacteriophage  2012;2(2):98-104.
Quantification of bacteriophages by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) is an interesting alternative to the traditional plaque assay. Importantly, the method should in principle be able to discriminate between closely related phages that are indistinguishable by most other means. Here, a method is presented that employs qPCR to discriminate and quantify ten closely related lambdoid phages of Escherichia coli str. K-12. It is shown that (1) treatment of samples with DNase efficiently removes non-encapsidated DNA, while the titer of plaque forming units is not affected, (2) individual phage types can be accurately quantified in mixed lysates, and (3) the detection limit corresponds to that of a plaque assay. The method is used to quantify individual phage types that are released from lysogens that carry up to three different prophages.
PMCID: PMC3442831  PMID: 23050220
multiple infections; real-time quantitative PCR; bacteriophages; Escherichia coli; bacteriophage lambda; lambdoid bacteriophages; detection; discrimination; quantification; polylysogeny
5.  Bacteriophage amplification assay for detection of Listeria spp. using virucidal laser treatment 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2012;43(3):1128-1136.
A protocol for the bacteriophage amplification technique was developed for quantitative detection of viable Listeria monocytogenes cells using the A511 listeriophage with plaque formation as the end-point assay. Laser and toluidine blue O (TBO) were employed as selective virucidal treatment for destruction of exogenous bacteriophage. Laser and TBO can bring a total reduction in titer phage (ca. 108 pfu/mL) without affecting the viability of L. monocytogenes cells. Artificially inoculated skimmed milk revealed mean populations of the bacteria as low as between 13 cfu/mL (1.11 log cfu/mL), after a 10-h assay duration. Virucidal laser treatment demonstrated better protection of Listeria cells than the other agents previously tested. The protocol was faster and easier to perform than standard procedures. This protocol constitutes an alternative for rapid, sensitive and quantitative detection of L. monocytogenes.
PMCID: PMC3768892  PMID: 24031937
Listeria; bacteriophage A511; laser light; detection; skimmed milk
6.  Rapid and Sensitive Detection of Yersinia pestis Using Amplification of Plague Diagnostic Bacteriophages Monitored by Real-Time PCR 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11337.
Yersinia pestis, the agent of plague, has caused many millions of human deaths and still poses a serious threat to global public health. Timely and reliable detection of such a dangerous pathogen is of critical importance. Lysis by specific bacteriophages remains an essential method of Y. pestis detection and plague diagnostics.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The objective of this work was to develop an alternative to conventional phage lysis tests – a rapid and highly sensitive method of indirect detection of live Y. pestis cells based on quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) monitoring of amplification of reporter Y. pestis-specific bacteriophages. Plague diagnostic phages ϕA1122 and L-413C were shown to be highly effective diagnostic tools for the detection and identification of Y. pestis by using qPCR with primers specific for phage DNA. The template DNA extraction step that usually precedes qPCR was omitted. ϕA1122-specific qPCR enabled the detection of an initial bacterial concentration of 103 CFU/ml (equivalent to as few as one Y. pestis cell per 1-µl sample) in four hours. L-413C-mediated detection of Y. pestis was less sensitive (up to 100 bacteria per sample) but more specific, and thus we propose parallel qPCR for the two phages as a rapid and reliable method of Y. pestis identification. Importantly, ϕA1122 propagated in simulated clinical blood specimens containing EDTA and its titer rise was detected by both a standard plating test and qPCR.
Thus, we developed a novel assay for detection and identification of Y. pestis using amplification of specific phages monitored by qPCR. The method is simple, rapid, highly sensitive, and specific and allows the detection of only live bacteria.
PMCID: PMC2893161  PMID: 20596528
7.  Bacteriophage and bacteriocin typing scheme for Clostridium difficile. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1983;17(6):1148-1152.
The study of the epidemiology of infection with Clostridium difficile would be aided by a way to type individual bacterial isolates. We therefore sought bacteriophages for use in typing. With mitomycin C exposure (3 micrograms/ml), filtrates from 10 strains of C. difficile had plaque-forming lytic activity on other C. difficile strains. Individual phage were passaged and made into high-titer stock preparations for typing. Electron microscopy revealed tailed phage particles from one such preparation. In addition to phage, inhibitory activity without distinct plaque formation consistent with bacteriocins was observed for 20 strains. C. difficile isolates from 16 patients taken 1 to 14 days apart were similar in their phage sensitivity pattern, whereas isolates from separate geographic locations showed a great variety of patterns. We conclude that bacteriophage should be useful for typing strains of C. difficile.
PMCID: PMC272816  PMID: 6874905
8.  An Undergraduate Laboratory Activity Demonstrating Bacteriophage Specificity† 
Bacteriophage are among the most diverse and numerous microbes inhabiting our planet. Yet many laboratory activities fail to engage students in meaningful exploration of their diversity, unique characteristics, and abundance. In this curriculum activity students use a standard plaque assay to enumerate bacteriophage particles from a natural sample and use the scientific method to address questions about host specificity and diversity. A raw primary sewage sample is enriched for bacteriophage using hosts in the family Enterobacteriaceae. Students hypothesize about host specificity and use quantitative data (serial dilution and plaque assay) to test their hypotheses. Combined class data also help them answer questions about phage diversity. The exercise was field tested with a class of 47 students using pre- and posttests. For all learning outcomes posttest scores were higher than pretest scores at or below p = 0.01. Average individualized learning gain (G) was also calculated for each learning outcome. Students’ use of scientific language in reference to bacteriophage and host interaction significantly improved (p = 0.002; G = 0.50). Improved means of expression helped students construct better hypotheses on phage host specificity (G = 0.31, p = 0.01) and to explain the plaque assay method (G = 0.33, p = 0.002). At the end of the exercise students also demonstrated improved knowledge and understanding of phage specificity as related to phage therapy in humans (p < 0.001; G = 51).
PMCID: PMC3706169  PMID: 23858357
9.  Sampling Natural Viral Communities from Soil for Culture-Independent Analyses 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2003;69(11):6628-6633.
An essential first step in investigations of viruses in soil is the evaluation of viral recovery methods suitable for subsequent culture-independent analyses. In this study, four elution buffers (10% beef extract, 250 mM glycine buffer, 10 mM sodium pyrophosphate, and 1% potassium citrate) and three enumeration techniques (plaque assay, epifluorescence microscopy [EFM], and transmission electron microscopy [TEM]) were compared to determine the best method of extracting autochthonous bacteriophages from two Delaware agricultural soils. Beef extract and glycine buffer were the most effective in eluting viable phages inoculated into soils (up to 29% recovery); however, extraction efficiency varied significantly with phage strain. Potassium citrate eluted the highest numbers of virus-like particles from both soils based on enumerations by EFM (mean, 5.3 × 108 g of dry soil−1), but specific soil-eluant combinations posed significant problems to enumeration by EFM. Observations of virus-like particles under TEM gave confidence that the particles were, in fact, phages, but TEM enumerations yielded measurements of phage abundance (mean, 1.5×108 g of dry soil−1) that were about five times lower. Clearly, the measurement of phage abundance in soils varies with both the extraction and enumeration methodology; thus, it is important to assess multiple extraction and enumeration approaches prior to undertaking ecological studies of phages in a particular soil.
PMCID: PMC262263  PMID: 14602622
10.  Bacteriophage-Resistant Mutants in Yersinia pestis: Identification of Phage Receptors and Attenuation for Mice 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25486.
Bacteriophages specific for Yersinia pestis are routinely used for plague diagnostics and could be an alternative to antibiotics in case of drug-resistant plague. A major concern of bacteriophage therapy is the emergence of phage-resistant mutants. The use of phage cocktails can overcome this problem but only if the phages exploit different receptors. Some phage-resistant mutants lose virulence and therefore should not complicate bacteriophage therapy.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The purpose of this work was to identify Y. pestis phage receptors using site-directed mutagenesis and trans-complementation and to determine potential attenuation of phage-resistant mutants for mice. Six receptors for eight phages were found in different parts of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) inner and outer core. The receptor for R phage was localized beyond the LPS core. Most spontaneous and defined phage-resistant mutants of Y. pestis were attenuated, showing increase in LD50 and time to death. The loss of different LPS core biosynthesis enzymes resulted in the reduction of Y. pestis virulence and there was a correlation between the degree of core truncation and the impact on virulence. The yrbH and waaA mutants completely lost their virulence.
We identified Y. pestis receptors for eight bacteriophages. Nine phages together use at least seven different Y. pestis receptors that makes some of them promising for formulation of plague therapeutic cocktails. Most phage-resistant Y. pestis mutants become attenuated and thus should not pose a serious problem for bacteriophage therapy of plague. LPS is a critical virulence factor of Y. pestis.
PMCID: PMC3182234  PMID: 21980477
11.  Stability and Infectivity of Cytolethal Distending Toxin Type V Gene-Carrying Bacteriophages in a Water Mesocosm and under Different Inactivation Conditions 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(16):5818-5823.
Two cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) type V-encoding bacteriophages (Φ62 and Φ125) were induced spontaneously from their wild-type Escherichia coli strains and from the lysogens generated in Shigella sonnei. The stability of Cdt phages was determined at various temperatures and pH values after 1 month of storage by means of infectivity tests using a plaque blot assay and analysis of phage genomes using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR): both were highly stable. We assessed the inactivation of Cdt phages by thermal treatment, chlorination, UV radiation, and in a mesocosm in both summer and winter. The results for the two Cdt phages showed similar trends and were also similar to the phage SOM23 used for reference, but they showed a much higher persistence than Cdt-producing E. coli. Cdt phages showed maximal inactivation after 1 h at 70°C, 30 min of UV radiation, and 30 min of contact with a 10-ppm chlorine treatment. Inactivation in a mesocosm was higher in summer than in winter, probably because of solar radiation. The treatments reduced the number of infectious phages but did not have a significant effect on the Cdt phage particles detected by qPCR. Cdt phages were quantified by qPCR in 73% of river samples, and these results suggest that Cdt phages are a genetic vehicle and the natural reservoir for cdt in the environment.
PMCID: PMC3406162  PMID: 22685154
12.  Enumeration of Bacteriophages and Host Bacteria in Sewage and the Activated-Sludge Treatment Process 
Bacteriophage populations in an activated-sludge sewage treatment plant were enumerated. A newly developed assay for quantitation of total phages, employing direct electron microscopic counts, was used in conjunction with the plaque assay. The total concentration of phages was significantly higher in reactor mixed liquor and effluent than in influent sewage, indicating a net production of phages within the reactor. Maximum total phage concentrations in the fluid phase of sewage, activated-sludge mixed liquor, and reactor effluent were 2.2 × 107, 9.5 × 107, and 8.4 × 107/ml, respectively. Conditions were optimized for isolation of predominant heterotrophic aerobic bacteria from sewage and mixed liquor. Blending at ice water temperatures was superior to ultrasound or enzyme treatments for maximum release of viable bacteria from microbial floc. A solidified extract of mixed liquor was superior to standard media for cultivating maximum numbers of heterotrophic bacteria. The highest culture counts for sewage and mixed liquor were 1.4 × 107 and 1.3 × 109/ml, respectively, which represented only 3 and 6.8% of the total microscopic cell counts. Only 3 out of 48 dominant bacterial isolates from either mixed liquor or sewage were hosts for phages present in the system. The sum of phage populations infecting these three hosts accounted for, at best, 3.8% (sewage) and 0.2% (mixed liquor) of the total number of phages present. Generally, specific phage titers were lower in mixed liquor than in sewage, indicating that these hosts were not responsible for the net production of phages in the reactor. This study emphasizes the limitations of the plaque assay for ecological studies of phages, and it suggests that bacteria responsible for phage production in activated-sludge mixed liquor are either minor components of the heterotrophic population, floc-producing strains, or members of other physiological groups.
PMCID: PMC291381  PMID: 7387157
13.  Quantification of Shiga Toxin-Converting Bacteriophages in Wastewater and in Fecal Samples by Real-Time Quantitative PCR ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(17):5693-5701.
Shiga toxin-converting bacteriophages (Stx phages) are involved in the pathogenicity of some enteric bacteria, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7. Stx phages are released from their bacterial hosts after lytic induction and remain free in the environment. Samples were analyzed for the presence of free Stx phages by an experimental approach based on the use of real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), which enables stx to be detected in the DNA from the viral fraction of each sample. A total of 150 samples, including urban raw sewage samples, wastewater samples with fecal contamination from cattle, pigs, and poultry, and fecal samples from humans and diverse animals, were used in this study. Stx phages were detected in 70.0% of urban sewage samples (10 to 103 gene copies [GC] per ml) and in 94.0% of animal wastewater samples of several origins (10 to 1010 GC per ml). Eighty-nine percent of cattle fecal samples were positive for Stx phages (10 to 105 GC per g of sample), as were 31.8% of other fecal samples of various origins (10 to 104 GC per g of sample). The stx2 genes and stx2 variants were detected in the viral fraction of some of the samples after sequencing of stx2 fragments amplified by conventional PCR. The occurrence and abundance of Stx phages in the extraintestinal environment confirm the role of Stx phages as a reservoir of stx in the environment.
PMCID: PMC2935055  PMID: 20622134
14.  Recognition of Salmonella Typhimurium by Immobilized Phage P22 Monolayers 
Surface science  2008;602(7):1392-1400.
Phages are promising alternatives to antibodies as the biorecognition element in a variety of biosensing applications. In this study, a monolayer of bacteriophage P22 whose tailspike proteins specifically recognize Salmonella serotypes was covalently bound to glass substrates through a bifunctional cross linker 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane. The specific binding of Salmonella typhimurium to the phage monolayer was studied by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and atomic force microscopy. Escherichia coli and a Gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes were also studied as control bacteria. The P22 particles show strong binding affinity to Salmonella typhimurium. In addition, the dried P22 monolayer maintained 50% binding capacity to Salmonella typhimurium after a one-week storage time. This is a promising method to prepare phage monolayer coatings on surface plasmon resonance and acoustic biosensor substrates in order to utilize the nascent phage display technology.
PMCID: PMC2682717  PMID: 19461940
bacteriophage; Salmonella typhimurium; lipopolysaccharide membrane
15.  Enzyme-Based Listericidal Nanocomposites 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1584.
Cell lytic enzymes represent an alternative to chemical decontamination or use of antibiotics to kill pathogenic bacteria, such as listeria. A number of phage cell lytic enzymes against listeria have been isolated and possess listericidal activity; however, there has been no attempt to incorporate these enzymes onto surfaces. We report three facile routes for the surface incorporation of the listeria bacteriophage endolysin Ply500: covalent attachment onto FDA approved silica nanoparticles (SNPs), incorporation of SNP-Ply500 conjugates into a thin poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate) film; and affinity binding to edible crosslinked starch nanoparticles via construction of a maltose binding protein fusion. These Ply500 formulations were effective in killing L. innocua (a reduced pathogenic surrogate) at challenges up to 105 CFU/ml both in non-growth sustaining PBS as well as under growth conditions on lettuce. This strategy represents a new route toward achieving highly selective and efficient pathogen decontamination and prevention in public infrastructure.
PMCID: PMC3613805  PMID: 23545700
16.  Proposals for optimization of the international phage typing system for Listeria monocytogenes: combined analysis of phage lytic spectrum and variability of typing results. 
Combined analysis of 5,179 serial phage reactions of 20 Listeria monocytogenes propagating strains over 14 years and phage typing results from 2,659 further L. monocytogenes strains allowed us to estimate lytic spectrum specificity and the variability of the lytic reactions of 35 phages. These included the 26 phages recommended for the international method for phage typing defined in 1985 by Rocourt et al. (J. Rocourt, A. Audurier, A. L. Courtieu, J. Durst, S. Ortel, A. Schrettenbrunner, and A. G. Taylor, Zentralbl. Bakteriol. Abt. 1 Orig. A 259:489-497, 1985). The results are discussed individually for each phage. Proposals for modifying the present system are made with the aim of producing an optimal bacteriophage set for routine use.
PMCID: PMC167285  PMID: 7887610
17.  Production of Bacteriophage by Temperature-Sensitive Sporulation Mutants of Bacillus cereus T1 
Journal of Bacteriology  1973;116(2):1001-1010.
Five temperature-sensitive sporulation mutants of Bacillus cereus T have been isolated. These mutants are blocked at stage 0 of sporulation at the restrictive temperature (37 C) but are able to sporulate at nearly normal frequencies at the permissive temperature (26 C). A bacteriophage that forms a stable lysogen in the parent strain is induced at increased frequencies in the mutants. This induction is accompanied, in some of the mutants, by a reduction in immunity to the phage. Revertants, selected for their ability to sporulate normally at both temperatures, lose their ability to produce high titers of the phage. In addition to this lytic phage, an apparently defective phage has been found in lysates of the mutants. Strains cured of the plaque-forming phage still carry the defective phage. Comparisons of physical and biological properties of the plaque-forming phage with those of the two Bacillus cereus phages most similar to it have shown that this phage is not identical to either of them. The maximal titer of phage produced in cultures of the parent strain is about 103 plaque-forming units (PFU) per ml at both temperatures. The maximal titers of phage produced by the mutant are 4 × 109 PFU/ml at 37 C and 7 × 108 PFU/ml at 26 C. Both mutant and parent strains release over 90% of the phage they produce after the onset of stationary phase.
PMCID: PMC285475  PMID: 4126824
18.  Assay for the Killing Properties of T2 Bacteriophage and Their “Ghosts”1 
Journal of Bacteriology  1965;90(3):724-728.
Duckworth, Donna H. (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.), and Maurice J. Bessman. Assay for the killing properties of T2 bacteriophage and their “ghosts.” J. Bacteriol. 90:724–728. 1965.—A procedure for the assay of bacteriophage and their “ghosts” which is based on their ability to kill cells is described. The method is derived from the well-known ability of phage and ghosts to prevent the induction of β-galactosidase. Conditions are described whereby a direct relationship is found between the decrease in β-galactosidase and the number of phage or ghosts present during the induction period. The number of phage measured by this method was found to be identical with the number of plaque-forming units found in a fresh lysate. The method has been used to follow the fate of ghosts under several conditions and to measure killer (but nonviable) particles in various preparations of phage.
PMCID: PMC315717  PMID: 16562073
Journal of Bacteriology  1964;87(1):196-208.
Feary, Thomas W. (Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La.), Earl Fisher, Jr., and Thelma N. Fisher. Isolation and preliminary characteristics of three bacteriophages associated with a lysogenic strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J. Bacteriol. 87:196–208. 1964.—Three bacteriophages designated 7v, 7m, and 7s were isolated from a lysogenic strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa designated Ps-7. The three viruses were found to be completely unrelated on the basis of plaque morphology, host range, serology, ultraviolet induction, sensitivity to heat, and particle morphology as revealed by electron microscopy. In addition, it was shown that the three phages were incapable of plaque formation on bacteria other than various strains of P. aeruginosa. Of the three phages, only phage 7v was capable of plaque formation on strain Ps-7. The growth of phage 7v on strain Ps-7 exhibited properties which suggest that this virus arises as the result of mutation in a temperate phage for which strain Ps-7 is lysogenic. Phages 7m and 7s are incapable of plaque formation on strain Ps-7, but are adsorbed at characteristic rates to cell suspensions of strain Ps-7. The relationship between phage 7m and strain Ps-7 was shown to meet the classical criteria for lysogeny. Because phage 7s contains ribonucleic acid as its nucleic acid component, it was concluded that its production by strain Ps-7 and the demonstration of immunity of strain Ps-7 to infection by phage 7s were not sufficient evidence to define the nature of the relationship between phage 7s and P. aeruginosa strain Ps-7. It was observed that under certain conditions the infectious titer of phage 7s preparations are markedly reduced in the presence of ribonuclease.
PMCID: PMC276979  PMID: 14102854
20.  Application of Bacteriophages To Control Intestinal Escherichia coli O157:H7 Levels in Ruminants 
A previously characterized O157-specific lytic bacteriophage KH1 and a newly isolated phage designated SH1 were tested, alone or in combination, for reducing intestinal Escherichia coli O157:H7 in animals. Oral treatment with phage KH1 did not reduce the intestinal E. coli O157:H7 in sheep. Phage SH1 formed clear and relatively larger plaques on lawns of all 12 E. coli O157:H7 isolates tested and had a broader host range than phage KH1, lysing O55:H6 and 18 of 120 non-O157 E. coli isolates tested. In vitro, mucin or bovine mucus did not inhibit bacterial lysis by phage SH1 or KH1. A phage treatment protocol was optimized using a mouse model of E. coli O157:H7 intestinal carriage. Oral treatment with SH1 or a mixture of SH1 and KH1 at phage/bacterium ratios ≥102 terminated the presence of fecal E. coli O157:H7 within 2 to 6 days after phage treatment. Untreated control mice remained culture positive for >10 days. To optimize bacterial carriage and phage delivery in cattle, E. coli O157:H7 was applied rectally to Holstein steers 7 days before the administration of 1010 PFU SH1 and KH1. Phages were applied directly to the rectoanal junction mucosa at phage/bacterium ratios calculated to be ≥102. In addition, phages were maintained at 106 PFU/ml in the drinking water of the phage treatment group. This phage therapy reduced the average number of E. coli O157:H7 CFU among phage-treated steers compared to control steers (P < 0.05); however, it did not eliminate the bacteria from the majority of steers.
PMCID: PMC1538718  PMID: 16885287
21.  Lytic and Lysogenic Infection of Diverse Escherichia coli and Shigella Strains with a Verocytotoxigenic Bacteriophage 
A verocytotoxigenic bacteriophage isolated from a strain of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157, into which a kanamycin resistance gene (aph3) had been inserted to inactivate the verocytotoxin gene (vt2), was used to infect Enterobacteriaceae strains. A number of Shigella and E. coli strains were susceptible to lysogenic infection, and a smooth E. coli isolate (O107) was also susceptible to lytic infection. The lysogenized strains included different smooth E. coli serotypes of both human and animal origin, indicating that this bacteriophage has a substantial capacity to disseminate verocytotoxin genes. A novel indirect plaque assay utilizing an E. coli recA441 mutant in which phage-infected cells can enter only the lytic cycle, enabling detection of all infective phage, was developed.
PMCID: PMC93165  PMID: 11526041
22.  Evaluation of a Cocktail of Three Bacteriophages for Biocontrol of Escherichia coli O157:H7 
Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an endemic pathogen causing a variety of human diseases including mild diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This study concerns the exploitation of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents to eliminate the pathogen E. coli O157:H7. Two distinct lytic phages (e11/2 and e4/1c) isolated against a human strain of E. coli O157:H7, a previously isolated lytic phage (pp01), and a cocktail of all three phages were evaluated for their ability to lyse the bacterium in vivo and in vitro. Phage e11/2, pp01, and the cocktail of all three virulent phages resulted in a 5-log-unit reduction of pathogen numbers in 1 h at 37°C. However, bacteriophage-insensitive mutants (BIMs) emerged following the challenge. All tested BIMs had a growth rate which approximated that of the parental O157 strain, although many of these BIMs had a smaller, more coccoid cellular morphology. The frequency of BIM formation (10−6 CFU) was similar for e11/2, pp01, and the phage cocktail, while BIMs insensitive to e4/1c occurred at the higher frequency (10−4 CFU). In addition, BIMs commonly reverted to phage sensitivity within 50 generations. In an initial meat trial experiment, the phage cocktail completely eliminated E. coli O157:H7 from the beef meat surface in seven of nine cases. Given that the frequency of BIM formation is low (10−6 CFU) for two of the phages, allied to the propensity of these mutants to revert to phage sensitivity, we expect that BIM formation should not hinder the use of these phages as biocontrol agents, particularly since low levels of the pathogen are typically encountered in the environment.
PMCID: PMC427753  PMID: 15184139
23.  Diagnostic Bioluminescent Phage for Detection of Yersinia pestis▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(12):3887-3894.
Yersinia pestis is the etiological agent of the plague. Because of the disease's inherent communicability, rapid clinical course, and high mortality, it is critical that an outbreak, whether it is natural or deliberate, be detected and diagnosed quickly. The objective of this research was to generate a recombinant luxAB (“light”)-tagged reporter phage that can detect Y. pestis by rapidly and specifically conferring a bioluminescent signal response to these cells. The bacterial luxAB reporter genes were integrated into a noncoding region of the CDC plague-diagnostic phage φA1122 by homologous recombination. The identity and fitness of the recombinant phage were assessed through PCR analysis and lysis assays and functionally verified by the ability to transduce a bioluminescent signal to recipient cells. The reporter phage conferred a bioluminescent phenotype to Y. pestis within 12 min of infection at 28°C. The signal response time and signal strength were dependent on the number of cells present. A positive signal was obtained from 102 cells within 60 min. A signal response was not detectable with Escherichia coli, although a weak signal (100-fold lower than that with Y. pestis) was obtained with 1 (of 10) Yersinia enterocolitica strains and 2 (of 10) Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains at the restrictive temperature. Importantly, serum did not prevent the ability of the reporter phage to infect Y. pestis, nor did it significantly quench the resulting bioluminescent signal. Collectively, the results indicate that the reporter phage displays promise for the rapid and specific diagnostic detection of cultivated Y. pestis isolates or infected clinical specimens.
PMCID: PMC2786668  PMID: 19828743
24.  Diversity and Host Range of Shiga Toxin-Encoding Phage  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(12):7131-7139.
Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) from the foodborne pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 is encoded on a temperate bacteriophage. Toxin-encoding phages from C600::933W and from six clinical E. coli O157:H7 isolates were characterized for PCR polymorphisms, phage morphology, toxin production, and lytic and lysogenic infection profiles on O157 and non-O157 serotype E. coli. The phages were found to be highly variable, and even phages isolated from strains with identical pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles differed. Examination of cross-plaquing and lysogeny profiles further substantiated that each phage is distinct; reciprocal patterns of susceptibility and resistance were not observed and it was not possible to define immunity groups. The interaction between Shiga toxin-encoding phage and intestinal E. coli was examined. Lytic infection was assessed by examining Shiga toxin production following overnight incubation with phage. While not common, lytic infection was observed, with a more-than-1,000-fold increase in Stx2 seen in one case, demonstrating that commensal E. coli cells can amplify Shiga toxin if they are susceptible to infection by the Shiga toxin-encoding phages. Antibiotic-resistant derivatives of the Stx2-encoding phages were used to examine lysogeny. Different phages were found to lysogenize different strains of intestinal E. coli. Lysogeny was found to occur more commonly than lytic infection. The presence of a diverse population of Shiga toxin-encoding phages may increase the pathogenic fitness of E. coli O157:H7.
PMCID: PMC529135  PMID: 15557637
25.  Evaluation of nanoparticle tracking analysis for total virus particle determination 
Virology Journal  2012;9:265.
The NanoSight LM10 with Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) software was evaluated for the quantification of latex particles, adenovirus 5, and influenza virus. The inter-day variability was determined by measuring the same sample over several consecutive days and the method’s accuracy was demonstrated by using known concentrations of the subject particles. NTA analysis was also used to quantify chromatographic fractions of adenovirus and influenza virus after purification on a CIM monolithic column. NTA results were compared and evaluated against hemagglutination (HA) and end point dilution assay, determining total and infection virus particle number, respectively. The results demonstrated that nanoparticle tracking analysis is a method for fast estimation of virus concentration in different samples. In addition, it can provide a better insight into the sample status, regarding the level of virus aggregation.
PMCID: PMC3503628  PMID: 23140220
NanoSight; NTA; Adenovirus 5; Influenza; Latex particles; CIM monolithic column

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