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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Mutated and Bacteriophage T4 Nanoparticle Arrayed F1-V Immunogens from Yersinia pestis as Next Generation Plague Vaccines 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(7):e1003495.
Pneumonic plague is a highly virulent infectious disease with 100% mortality rate, and its causative organism Yersinia pestis poses a serious threat for deliberate use as a bioterror agent. Currently, there is no FDA approved vaccine against plague. The polymeric bacterial capsular protein F1, a key component of the currently tested bivalent subunit vaccine consisting, in addition, of low calcium response V antigen, has high propensity to aggregate, thus affecting its purification and vaccine efficacy. We used two basic approaches, structure-based immunogen design and phage T4 nanoparticle delivery, to construct new plague vaccines that provided complete protection against pneumonic plague. The NH2-terminal β-strand of F1 was transplanted to the COOH-terminus and the sequence flanking the β-strand was duplicated to eliminate polymerization but to retain the T cell epitopes. The mutated F1 was fused to the V antigen, a key virulence factor that forms the tip of the type three secretion system (T3SS). The F1mut-V protein showed a dramatic switch in solubility, producing a completely soluble monomer. The F1mut-V was then arrayed on phage T4 nanoparticle via the small outer capsid protein, Soc. The F1mut-V monomer was robustly immunogenic and the T4-decorated F1mut-V without any adjuvant induced balanced TH1 and TH2 responses in mice. Inclusion of an oligomerization-deficient YscF, another component of the T3SS, showed a slight enhancement in the potency of F1-V vaccine, while deletion of the putative immunomodulatory sequence of the V antigen did not improve the vaccine efficacy. Both the soluble (purified F1mut-V mixed with alhydrogel) and T4 decorated F1mut-V (no adjuvant) provided 100% protection to mice and rats against pneumonic plague evoked by high doses of Y. pestis CO92. These novel platforms might lead to efficacious and easily manufacturable next generation plague vaccines.
Author Summary
Plague caused by Yersinia pestis is a deadly disease that wiped out one-third of Europe's population in the 14th century. The organism is listed by the CDC as Tier-1 biothreat agent, and currently, there is no FDA-approved vaccine against this pathogen. Stockpiling of an efficacious plague vaccine that could protect people against a potential bioterror attack has been a national priority. The current vaccines based on the capsular antigen (F1) and the low calcium response V antigen, are promising against both bubonic and pneumonic plague. However, the polymeric nature of F1 with its propensity to aggregate affects vaccine efficacy and generates varied immune responses in humans. We have addressed a series of concerns and generated mutants of F1 and V, which are completely soluble and produced in high yields. We then engineered the vaccine into a novel delivery platform using the bacteriophage T4 nanoparticle. The nanoparticle vaccines induced robust immunogenicity and provided 100% protection to mice and rats against pneumonic plague. These highly efficacious new generation plague vaccines are easily manufactured, and the potent T4 platform which can simultaneously incorporate antigens from other biothreat or emerging infectious agents provides a convenient way for mass vaccination of humans against multiple pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3708895  PMID: 23853602
4.  Propionibacterium acnes Bacteriophages Display Limited Genetic Diversity and Broad Killing Activity against Bacterial Skin Isolates 
mBio  2012;3(5):e00279-12.
Investigation of the human microbiome has revealed diverse and complex microbial communities at distinct anatomic sites. The microbiome of the human sebaceous follicle provides a tractable model in which to study its dominant bacterial inhabitant, Propionibacterium acnes, which is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of the human disease acne. To explore the diversity of the bacteriophages that infect P. acnes, 11 P. acnes phages were isolated from the sebaceous follicles of donors with healthy skin or acne and their genomes were sequenced. Comparative genomic analysis of the P. acnes phage population, which spans a 30-year temporal period and a broad geographic range, reveals striking similarity in terms of genome length, percent GC content, nucleotide identity (>85%), and gene content. This was unexpected, given the far-ranging diversity observed in virtually all other phage populations. Although the P. acnes phages display a broad host range against clinical isolates of P. acnes, two bacterial isolates were resistant to many of these phages. Moreover, the patterns of phage resistance correlate closely with the presence of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat elements in the bacteria that target a specific subset of phages, conferring a system of prokaryotic innate immunity. The limited diversity of the P. acnes bacteriophages, which may relate to the unique evolutionary constraints imposed by the lipid-rich anaerobic environment in which their bacterial hosts reside, points to the potential utility of phage-based antimicrobial therapy for acne.
Propionibacterium acnes is a dominant member of the skin microflora and has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of acne; however, little is known about the bacteriophages that coexist with and infect this bacterium. Here we present the novel genome sequences of 11 P. acnes phages, thereby substantially increasing the amount of available genomic information for this phage population. Surprisingly, we find that, unlike other well-studied bacteriophages, P. acnes phages are highly homogeneous and show a striking lack of genetic diversity, which is perhaps related to their unique and restricted habitat. They also share a broad ability to kill clinical isolates of P. acnes; phage resistance is not prevalent, but when detected, it appears to be conferred by chromosomally encoded immunity elements within the host genome. We believe that these phages display numerous features that would make them ideal candidates for the development of a phage-based therapy for acne.
PMCID: PMC3448167  PMID: 23015740
5.  Application of bacteriophages for detection of foodborne pathogens 
Bacteriophage  2014;4:e28137.
Bacterial contamination of food products presents a challenge for the food industry and poses a high risk for the consumer. Despite increasing awareness and improved hygiene measures, foodborne pathogens remain a threat for public health, and novel methods for detection of these organisms are needed. Bacteriophages represent ideal tools for diagnostic assays because of their high target cell specificity, inherent signal-amplifying properties, easy and inexpensive production, and robustness. Every stage of the phage lytic multiplication cycle, from the initial recognition of the host cell to the final lysis event, may be harnessed in several ways for the purpose of bacterial detection. Besides intact phage particles, phage-derived affinity molecules such as cell wall binding domains and receptor binding proteins can serve for this purpose. This review provides an overview of existing phage-based technologies for detection of foodborne pathogens, and highlights the most recent developments in this field, with particular emphasis on phage-based biosensors.
PMCID: PMC3919822  PMID: 24533229
foodborne pathogens; bacterial detection; diagnostics; reporter phage; biosensor; phage amplification; cell wall binding domain; receptor binding protein
6.  A Multifaceted Study of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Shutdown by Virulent Podovirus LUZ19 
mBio  2013;4(2):e00061-13.
In contrast to the rapidly increasing knowledge on genome content and diversity of bacterial viruses, insights in intracellular phage development and its impact on bacterial physiology are very limited. We present a multifaceted study combining quantitative PCR (qPCR), microarray, RNA-seq, and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-GE), to obtain a global overview of alterations in DNA, RNA, and protein content in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 cells upon infection with the strictly lytic phage LUZ19. Viral genome replication occurs in the second half of the phage infection cycle and coincides with degradation of the bacterial genome. At the RNA level, there is a sharp increase in viral mRNAs from 23 to 60% of all transcripts after 5 and 15 min of infection, respectively. Although microarray analysis revealed a complex pattern of bacterial up- and downregulated genes, the accumulation of viral mRNA clearly coincides with a general breakdown of abundant bacterial transcripts. Two-dimensional gel electrophoretic analyses shows no bacterial protein degradation during phage infection, and seven stress-related bacterial proteins appear. Moreover, the two most abundantly expressed early and late-early phage proteins, LUZ19 gene product 13 (Gp13) and Gp21, completely inhibit P. aeruginosa growth when expressed from a single-copy plasmid. Since Gp13 encodes a predicted GNAT acetyltransferase, this observation points at a crucial but yet unexplored level of posttranslational viral control during infection.
Massive genome sequencing has led to important insights into the enormous genetic diversity of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages). However, for nearly all known phages, information on the impact of the phage infection on host physiology and intracellular phage development is scarce. This aspect of phage research should be revitalized, as phages evolved genes which can shut down or redirect bacterial processes in a very efficient way, which can be exploited towards antibacterial design. In this context, we initiated a study of the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa under attack by one its most common predators, the Phikmvlikevirus. By analyzing various stages of infection at different levels, this study uncovers new features of phage infection, representing a cornerstone for future studies on members of this phage genus.
PMCID: PMC3604761  PMID: 23512961
7.  The habits of highly effective phages: population dynamics as a framework for identifying therapeutic phages 
The use of bacteriophages as antibacterial agents is being actively researched on a global scale. Typically, the phages used are isolated from the wild by plating on the bacteria of interest, and a far larger set of candidate phages is often available than can be used in any application. When an excess of phages is available, how should the best phages be identified? Here we consider phage-bacterial population dynamics as a basis for evaluating and predicting phage success. A central question is whether the innate dynamical properties of phages are the determinants of success, or instead, whether extrinsic, indirect effects can be responsible. We address the dynamical perspective, motivated in part by the absence of dynamics in previously suggested principles of phage therapy. Current mathematical models of bacterial-phage dynamics do not capture the realities of in vivo dynamics, nor is this likely to change, but they do give insight to qualitative properties that may be generalizable. In particular, phage adsorption rate may be critical to treatment success, so understanding the effects of the in vivo environment on host availability may allow prediction of useful phages prior to in vivo experimentation. Principles for predicting efficacy may be derived by developing a greater understanding of the in vivo system, or such principles could be determined empirically by comparing phages with known differences in their dynamic properties. The comparative approach promises to be a powerful method of discovering the key to phage success. We offer five recommendations for future study: (i) compare phages differing in treatment efficacy to identify the phage properties associated with success, (ii) assay dynamics in vivo, (iii) understand mechanisms of bacterial escape from phages, (iv) test phages in model infections that are relevant to the intended clinical applications, and (v) develop new classes of models for phage growth in spatially heterogeneous environments.
PMCID: PMC4235362  PMID: 25477869
bacteriophage; phage therapy; mathematical model; population dynamics; bacterial infections
8.  Evolutionary consequences of intra-patient phage predation on microbial populations 
eLife  2014;3:e03497.
The impact of phage predation on bacterial pathogens in the context of human disease is not currently appreciated. Here, we show that predatory interactions of a phage with an important environmentally transmitted pathogen, Vibrio cholerae, can modulate the evolutionary trajectory of this pathogen during the natural course of infection within individual patients. We analyzed geographically and temporally disparate cholera patient stool samples from Haiti and Bangladesh and found that phage predation can drive the genomic diversity of intra-patient V. cholerae populations. Intra-patient phage-sensitive and phage-resistant isolates were isogenic except for mutations conferring phage resistance, and moreover, phage-resistant V. cholerae populations were composed of a heterogeneous mix of many unique mutants. We also observed that phage predation can significantly alter the virulence potential of V. cholerae shed from cholera patients. We provide the first molecular evidence for predatory phage shaping microbial community structure during the natural course of infection in humans.
eLife digest
Cholera epidemics occur seasonally in areas such as Bangladesh, and outbreaks can also strike in vulnerable regions, as has occurred recently in Haiti. The disease is caused by Vibrio cholerae, a water-borne bacterium that colonizes the small intestine, and its symptoms include severe diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to death if the patient is not treated promptly.
Lytic phages are viruses that specifically attack and kill bacteria. After replicating many times inside the bacterial cell, the phages break open and destroy the cell. Over time a bacterial population can evolve to resist this phage ‘predation’; however, it is not known if bacterial pathogens need to defend themselves against phage attack when they infect humans. It had been suggested that phages might affect the progress of cholera infections in people, but molecular evidence that supports this hypothesis was lacking.
When testing stool samples from Haitian cholera patients, Seed et al. found one sample contained a lot of lytic phage relative to the amount of V. cholerae present. This phage was very similar to—but distinct from—a phage found in Bangladeshi patients.
The V. cholerae bacteria isolated from the stool sample were resistant to attack by the phage. Sequencing the genome of individual bacteria from this sample revealed that each had a mutation that made them resistant to the phage; and while many types of these mutations were found, these were the only differences between all the V. cholerae bacteria in this patient sample. This suggests that this resistance developed independently many different times within the patient due to strong selective pressure from phage predation.
When Seed et al. looked at a phage-positive stool sample from a Bangladeshi patient, more mutations that made the bacteria resistant to this phage were found; however, these mutations were different again from the ones in the Haitian bacteria. Because of the nature of these mutations the bacteria from this patient were rendered unable to cause disease and non-transmissible.
This work shows that phages can indeed have access to pathogenic bacteria during human infection. It also indicates that the pressure imposed by phage predation can, in some cases, be so strong that the bacteria lose their virulence and ability to spread to other humans in order to become resistant to the phage.
PMCID: PMC4141277  PMID: 25161196
Vibrio cholerae; cholera; bacteriophage; phage; OmpU; ToxR; viruses; other
9.  Lysis-deficient phages as novel therapeutic agents for controlling bacterial infection 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:195.
Interest in phage therapy has grown over the past decade due to the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens. However, the use of bacteriophages for therapeutic purposes has raised concerns over the potential for immune response, rapid toxin release by the lytic action of phages, and difficulty in dose determination in clinical situations. A phage that kills the target cell but is incapable of host cell lysis would alleviate these concerns without compromising efficacy.
We developed a recombinant lysis-deficient Staphylococcus aureus phage P954, in which the endolysin gene was rendered nonfunctional by insertional inactivation. P954, a temperate phage, was lysogenized in S. aureus strain RN4220. The native endolysin gene on the prophage was replaced with an endolysin gene disrupted by the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (cat) gene through homologous recombination using a plasmid construct. Lysogens carrying the recombinant phage were detected by growth in presence of chloramphenicol. Induction of the recombinant prophage did not result in host cell lysis, and the phage progeny were released by cell lysis with glass beads. The recombinant phage retained the endolysin-deficient genotype and formed plaques only when endolysin was supplemented. The host range of the recombinant phage was the same as that of the parent phage. To test the in vivo efficacy of the recombinant endolysin-deficient phage, immunocompromised mice were challenged with pathogenic S. aureus at a dose that results in 80% mortality (LD80). Treatment with the endolysin-deficient phage rescued mice from the fatal S. aureus infection.
A recombinant endolysin-deficient staphylococcal phage has been developed that is lethal to methicillin-resistant S. aureus without causing bacterial cell lysis. The phage was able to multiply in lytic mode utilizing a heterologous endolysin expressed from a plasmid in the propagation host. The recombinant phage effectively rescued mice from fatal S. aureus infection. To our knowledge this is the first report of a lysis-deficient staphylococcal phage.
PMCID: PMC3224134  PMID: 21880144
10.  The Tripartite Associations between Bacteriophage, Wolbachia, and Arthropods 
PLoS Pathogens  2006;2(5):e43.
By manipulating arthropod reproduction worldwide, the heritable endosymbiont Wolbachia has spread to pandemic levels. Little is known about the microbial basis of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) except that bacterial densities and percentages of infected sperm cysts associate with incompatibility strength. The recent discovery of a temperate bacteriophage (WO-B) of Wolbachia containing ankyrin-encoding genes and virulence factors has led to intensifying debate that bacteriophage WO-B induces CI. However, current hypotheses have not considered the separate roles that lytic and lysogenic phage might have on bacterial fitness and phenotype. Here we describe a set of quantitative approaches to characterize phage densities and its associations with bacterial densities and CI. We enumerated genome copy number of phage WO-B and Wolbachia and CI penetrance in supergroup A- and B-infected males of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We report several findings: (1) variability in CI strength for A-infected males is positively associated with bacterial densities, as expected under the bacterial density model of CI, (2) phage and bacterial densities have a significant inverse association, as expected for an active lytic infection, and (3) CI strength and phage densities are inversely related in A-infected males; similarly, males expressing incomplete CI have significantly higher phage densities than males expressing complete CI. Ultrastructural analyses indicate that approximately 12% of the A Wolbachia have phage particles, and aggregations of these particles can putatively occur outside the Wolbachia cell. Physical interactions were observed between approximately 16% of the Wolbachia cells and spermatid tails. The results support a low to moderate frequency of lytic development in Wolbachia and an overall negative density relationship between bacteriophage and Wolbachia. The findings motivate a novel phage density model of CI in which lytic phage repress Wolbachia densities and therefore reproductive parasitism. We conclude that phage, Wolbachia, and arthropods form a tripartite symbiotic association in which all three are integral to understanding the biology of this widespread endosymbiosis. Clarifying the roles of lytic and lysogenic phage development in Wolbachia biology will effectively structure inquiries into this research topic.
Symbiotic bacteria that are maternally inherited are widespread in terrestrial invertebrates. Such bacteria infect the cells of reproductive tissues and can have important evolutionary and developmental effects on the host. Often these inherited symbionts develop beneficial relationships with their hosts, but some species can also selfishly alter invertebrate reproduction to increase the numbers of infected females (the transmitting sex of the bacteria) in the population. Bacterial-mediated distortions such as male-killing, feminization, parthenogenesis induction, and cytoplasmic incompatibility are collectively known as “reproductive parasitism.” In this article, the investigators show that the associations between the most common reproductive parasite in the biosphere (Wolbachia) and a parasitic wasp host are affected by a mobile element—a temperate bacteriophage of Wolbachia. In contrast to recent reports that suggest bacteriophage WO-B may induce reproductive parasitism, the authors' quantitative and ultrastructural analyses indicate that lytic phage WO-B are lethal and therefore associate with a reduction in both Wolbachia densities and reproductive parasitism. Based on these data, the authors propose a phage density model in which lytic phage development specifically leads to a reduction, rather than induction, of reproductive parisitism. The study is among the first investigations to show that lytic bacteriophage inversely associate with the densities and phenotype of an obligate intracellular bacterium.
PMCID: PMC1463016  PMID: 16710453
11.  Abundant and Diverse Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat Spacers in Clostridium difficile Strains and Prophages Target Multiple Phage Types within This Pathogen 
mBio  2014;5(5):e01045-13.
Clostridium difficile is an important human-pathogenic bacterium causing antibiotic-associated nosocomial infections worldwide. Mobile genetic elements and bacteriophages have helped shape C. difficile genome evolution. In many bacteria, phage infection may be controlled by a form of bacterial immunity called the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas) system. This uses acquired short nucleotide sequences (spacers) to target homologous sequences (protospacers) in phage genomes. C. difficile carries multiple CRISPR arrays, and in this paper we examine the relationships between the host- and phage-carried elements of the system. We detected multiple matches between spacers and regions in 31 C. difficile phage and prophage genomes. A subset of the spacers was located in prophage-carried CRISPR arrays. The CRISPR spacer profiles generated suggest that related phages would have similar host ranges. Furthermore, we show that C. difficile strains of the same ribotype could either have similar or divergent CRISPR contents. Both synonymous and nonsynonymous mutations in the protospacer sequences were identified, as well as differences in the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM), which could explain how phages escape this system. This paper illustrates how the distribution and diversity of CRISPR spacers in C. difficile, and its prophages, could modulate phage predation for this pathogen and impact upon its evolution and pathogenicity.
Clostridium difficile is a significant bacterial human pathogen which undergoes continual genome evolution, resulting in the emergence of new virulent strains. Phages are major facilitators of genome evolution in other bacterial species, and we use sequence analysis-based approaches in order to examine whether the CRISPR/Cas system could control these interactions across divergent C. difficile strains. The presence of spacer sequences in prophages that are homologous to phage genomes raises an extra level of complexity in this predator-prey microbial system. Our results demonstrate that the impact of phage infection in this system is widespread and that the CRISPR/Cas system is likely to be an important aspect of the evolutionary dynamics in C. difficile.
PMCID: PMC4173771  PMID: 25161187
12.  First-Time Isolation and Characterization of a Bacteriophage Encoding the Shiga Toxin 2c Variant, Which Is Globally Spread in Strains of Escherichia coli O157  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(12):7030-7039.
A bacteriophage encoding the Shiga toxin 2c variant (Stx2c) was isolated from the human Escherichia coli O157 strain CB2851 and shown to form lysogens on the E. coli K-12 laboratory strains C600 and MG1655. Production of Stx2c was found in the wild-type E. coli O157 strain and the K-12 lysogens and was inducible by growing bacteria in the presence of ciprofloxacin. Phage 2851 is the first reported viable bacteriophage which carries an stx2c gene. Electron micrographs of phage 2851 showed particles with elongated hexagonal heads and long flexible tails resembling phage lambda. Sequence analysis of an 8.4-kb region flanking the stx2c gene and other genetic elements revealed a mosaic gene structure, as found in other Stx phages. Phage 2851 showed lysis of E. coli K-12 strains lysogenic for Stx phages encoding Stx1 (H19), Stx2 (933W), Stx (7888), and Stx1c (6220) but showed superinfection immunity with phage lambda, presumably originating from the similarity of the cI repressor proteins of both phages. Apparently, phage 2851 integrates at a different chromosomal locus than Stx2 phage 933W and Stx1 phage H19 in E. coli, explaining why Stx2c is often found in combination with Stx1 or Stx2 in E. coli O157 strains. Diagnostic PCR was performed to determine gene sequences specific for phage 2851 in wild-type E. coli O157 strains producing Stx2c. The phage 2851 q and o genes were frequently detected in Stx2c-producing E. coli O157 strains, indicating that phages related to 2851 are associated with Stx2c production in strains of E. coli O157 that were isolated in different locations and time periods.
PMCID: PMC529153  PMID: 15557626
13.  The in vivo efficacy of two administration routes of a phage cocktail to reduce numbers of Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter jejuni in chickens 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:232.
Poultry meat is one of the most important sources of human campylobacteriosis, an acute bacterial enteritis which is a major problem worldwide. Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter jejuni are the most common Campylobacter species associated with this disease. These pathogens live in the intestinal tract of most avian species and under commercial conditions they spread rapidly to infect a high proportion of the flock, which makes their treatment and prevention very difficult. Bacteriophages (phages) are naturally occurring predators of bacteria with high specificity and also the capacity to evolve to overcome bacterial resistance. Therefore phage therapy is a promising alternative to antibiotics in animal production. This study tested the efficacy of a phage cocktail composed of three phages for the control of poultry infected with C. coli and C. jejuni. Moreover, it evaluated the effectiveness of two routes of phage administration (by oral gavage and in feed) in order to provide additional information regarding their future use in a poultry unit.
The results indicate that experimental colonisation of chicks was successful and that the birds showed no signs of disease even at the highest dose of Campylobacter administered. The phage cocktail was able to reduce the titre of both C. coli and C. jejuni in faeces by approximately 2 log10 cfu/g when administered by oral gavage and in feed. This reduction persisted throughout the experimental period and neither pathogen regained their former numbers. The reduction in Campylobacter titre was achieved earlier (2 days post-phage administration) when the phage cocktail was incorporated in the birds' feed. Campylobacter strains resistant to phage infection were recovered from phage-treated chickens at a frequency of 13%. These resistant phenotypes did not exhibit a reduced ability to colonize the chicken guts and did not revert to sensitive types.
Our findings provide further evidence of the efficacy of phage therapy for the control of Campylobacter in poultry. The broad host range of the novel phage cocktail enabled it to target both C. jejuni and C. coli strains. Moreover the reduction of Campylobacter by approximately 2 log10cfu/g, as occurred in our study, could lead to a 30-fold reduction in the incidence of campylobacteriosis associated with consumption of chicken meals (according to mathematical models). To our knowledge this is the first report of phage being administered in feed to Campylobacter-infected chicks and our results show that it lead to an earlier and more sustainable reduction of Campylobacter than administration by oral gavage. Therefore the present study is of extreme importance as it has shown that administering phages to poultry via the food could be successful on a commercial scale.
PMCID: PMC2940857  PMID: 20809975
14.  Enumeration of bacteriophage particles 
Bacteriophage  2011;1(2):86-93.
Bacteriophages are increasingly being utilized and considered for various practical applications, ranging from decontaminating foods and inanimate surfaces to human therapy; therefore, it is important to determine their concentrations quickly and reliably. Traditional plaque assay (PA) is the current “gold standard” for quantitating phage titers. However, it requires at least 18 h before results are obtained, and they may be significantly influenced by various factors. Therefore, two alternative assays based on the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) and NanoSight Limited (NS) technologies were recently proposed for enumerating phage particles. The present study compared the three approaches' abilities to quantitate Listeria monocytogenes-, Escherichia coli O157:H7- and Yersinia pestis-specific lytic phages quickly and reproducibly. The average coefficient of variation (CVS) of the PA method including all three phages was 0.15. The reproducibility of the PA method decreased dramatically when multiple investigators performed the assays, and mean differences of as much as 0.33 log were observed. The QPC R method required costly equipment and the synthesis of phage-specific oligonucleotide primers, but it determined phage concentrations faster (within about 4 h) and more precisely than did PA (CVS = 0.13). NS technology required costly equipment, was less precise (CVS = 0.28) than the PA and QPCR methods, and only worked when the phages were suspended in clear medium. However, it provided results within 5 min. After the overall correlation is established with the PA method, either of the two assays may be useful for quickly and reproducibly determining phage concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3278645  PMID: 22334864
bacteriophage; phage; plaque assays; phage titer
15.  Lysogeny with Shiga Toxin 2-Encoding Bacteriophages Represses Type III Secretion in Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(5):e1002672.
Lytic or lysogenic infections by bacteriophages drive the evolution of enteric bacteria. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) have recently emerged as a significant zoonotic infection of humans with the main serotypes carried by ruminants. Typical EHEC strains are defined by the expression of a type III secretion (T3S) system, the production of Shiga toxins (Stx) and association with specific clinical symptoms. The genes for Stx are present on lambdoid bacteriophages integrated into the E. coli genome. Phage type (PT) 21/28 is the most prevalent strain type linked with human EHEC infections in the United Kingdom and is more likely to be associated with cattle shedding high levels of the organism than PT32 strains. In this study we have demonstrated that the majority (90%) of PT 21/28 strains contain both Stx2 and Stx2c phages, irrespective of source. This is in contrast to PT 32 strains for which only a minority of strains contain both Stx2 and 2c phages (28%). PT21/28 strains had a lower median level of T3S compared to PT32 strains and so the relationship between Stx phage lysogeny and T3S was investigated. Deletion of Stx2 phages from EHEC strains increased the level of T3S whereas lysogeny decreased T3S. This regulation was confirmed in an E. coli K12 background transduced with a marked Stx2 phage followed by measurement of a T3S reporter controlled by induced levels of the LEE-encoded regulator (Ler). The presence of an integrated Stx2 phage was shown to repress Ler induction of LEE1 and this regulation involved the CII phage regulator. This repression could be relieved by ectopic expression of a cognate CI regulator. A model is proposed in which Stx2-encoding bacteriophages regulate T3S to co-ordinate epithelial cell colonisation that is promoted by Stx and secreted effector proteins.
Author Summary
Many significant infectious diseases that impact human health evolve in animal hosts. Our work focuses on infections caused by strains of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) that cause bloody diarrhoea and life threatening kidney and brain damage in humans as an incidental host, while ruminants are a reservoir host. EHEC strains are infected with bacteriophages that can integrate their genetic material into the bacterial chromosome. This includes genes for the production of Shiga toxins (Stx) that are responsible for the severe pathology in humans. It has been demonstrated that certain EHEC strains are more likely to be associated with human disease and ‘supershedding’ animals. The current study has shown that these EHEC strains are more likely to contain two related Stx bacteriophages, rather than one, and that the intercalating bacteriophages take control of the bacterial type III secretion system that is essential for ruminant colonization. We propose that this regulation favours co-acquisition of other genetic regions that encode type III-secreted proteins and regulators that can overcome this control. This finding helps our understanding of EHEC strain evolution and indicates that selection of more toxic strains may be occurring in the ruminant host with important implications for human health.
PMCID: PMC3355084  PMID: 22615557
16.  Characterization of Helicobacter pylori Bacteriophage KHP30 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(10):3176-3184.
Helicobacter pylori inhabits the stomach mucosa and is a causative agent of stomach ulcer and cancer. In general, bacteriophages (phages) are strongly associated with bacterial evolution, including the development of pathogenicity. Several tailed phages have so far been reported in H. pylori. We have isolated an H. pylori phage, KHP30, and reported its genomic sequence. In this study, we examined the biological characteristics of phage KHP30. Phage KHP30 was found to be a spherical lipid-containing phage with a diameter of ca. 69 nm. Interestingly, it was stable from pH 2.5 to pH 10, suggesting that it is adapted to the highly acidic environment of the human stomach. Phage KHP30 multiplied on 63.6% of clinical H. pylori isolates. The latent period was ca. 140 min, shorter than the doubling time of H. pylori (ca. 180 min). The burst size was ca. 13, which was smaller than the burst sizes of other known tailed or spherical phages. Phage KHP30 seemed to be maintained as an episome in H. pylori strain NY43 cells, despite a predicted integrase gene in the KHP30 genomic sequence. Seven possible virion proteins of phage KHP30 were analyzed using N-terminal protein sequencing and mass spectrometry, and their genes were found to be located on its genomic DNA. The genomic organization of phage KHP30 differed from the genomic organizations in the known spherical phage families Corticoviridae and Tectiviridae. This evidence suggests that phage KHP30 is a new type of spherical phage that cannot be classified in any existing virus category.
PMCID: PMC3685256  PMID: 23475617
17.  Characterising the biology of novel lytic bacteriophages infecting multidrug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae 
Virology Journal  2013;10:100.
Members of the genus Klebsiella are among the leading microbial pathogens associated with nosocomial infection. The increased incidence of antimicrobial resistance in these species has propelled the need for alternate/combination therapeutic regimens to aid clinical treatment. Bacteriophage therapy forms one of these alternate strategies.
Electron microscopy, burst size, host range, sensitivity of phage particles to temperature, chloroform, pH, and restriction digestion of phage DNA were used to characterize Klebsiella phages.
Results and conclusions
Of the 32 isolated phages eight belonged to the family Myoviridae, eight to the Siphoviridae whilst the remaining 16 belonged to the Podoviridae. The host range of these phages was characterised against 254 clinical Enterobacteriaceae strains including multidrug resistant Klebsiella isolates producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs). Based on their lytic potential, six of the phages were further characterised for burst size, physicochemical properties and sensitivity to restriction endonuclease digestion. In addition, five were fully sequenced. Multiple phage-encoded host resistance mechanisms were identified. The Siphoviridae phage genomes (KP16 and KP36) contained low numbers of host restriction sites similar to the strategy found in T7-like phages (KP32). In addition, phage KP36 encoded its own DNA adenine methyltransferase. The φKMV-like KP34 phage was sensitive to all endonucleases used in this study. Dam methylation of KP34 DNA was detected although this was in the absence of an identifiable phage encoded methyltransferase. The Myoviridae phages KP15 and KP27 both carried Dam and Dcm methyltransferase genes and other anti-restriction mechanisms elucidated in previous studies. No other anti-restriction mechanisms were found, e.g. atypical nucleotides (hmC or glucosyl hmC), although Myoviridae phage KP27 encodes an unknown anti-restriction mechanism that needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3620542  PMID: 23537199
Bacteriophage; Klebsiella spp.; Multidrug resistance; Restriction endonuclease patterns; Myoviridae; Siphoviridae; Podoviridae
18.  Synonymous codon usage in forty staphylococcal phages identifies the factors controlling codon usage variation and the phages suitable for phage therapy 
Bioinformation  2012;8(24):1187-1194.
The immergence and dissemination of multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus in recent years have expedited the research on the discovery of novel anti-staphylococcal agents promptly. Bacteriophages have long been showing tremendous potentialities in curing the infections caused by various pathogenic bacteria including S. aureus. Thus far, only a few virulent bacteriophages, which do not carry any toxin-encoding gene but are capable of eradicating staphylococcal infections, were reported. Based on the codon usage analysis of sixteen S. aureus phages, previously three phages were suggested to be useful as the anti-staphylococcal agents. To search for additional S. aureus phages suitable for phage therapy, relative synonymous codon usage bias has been investigated in the protein-coding genes of forty new staphylococcal phages. All phages appeared to carry A and T ending codons. Several factors such as mutational pressure, translational selection and gene length seemed to be responsible for the codon usage variation in the phages. Codon usage indeed varied phage to phage. Of the phages, phages G1, Twort, 66 and Sap-2 may be extremely lytic in nature as majority of their genes possess high translational efficiency, indicating that these phages may be employed in curing staphylococcal infections.
PMCID: PMC3530870  PMID: 23275718
Staphylococcal phage; Synonymous codon usage; Translational selection; Mutational bias; Phage therapy
19.  Rapid Detection and Simultaneous Antibiotic Susceptibility Analysis of Yersinia pestis Directly from Clinical Specimens by Use of Reporter Phage 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(8):2998-3003.
Yersinia pestis is a tier 1 agent due to its contagious pneumopathogenicity, extremely rapid progression, and high mortality rate. As the disease is usually fatal without appropriate therapy, rapid detection from clinical matrices is critical to patient outcomes. We previously engineered the diagnostic phage ΦA1122 with luxAB to create a “light-tagged” reporter phage. ΦA1122::luxAB rapidly detects Y. pestis in pure culture and human serum by transducing a bioluminescent signal response. In this report, we assessed the analytical specificity of the reporter phage and investigated diagnostic utility (detection and antibiotic susceptibility analysis) directly from spiked whole blood. The bioreporter displayed 100% (n = 59) inclusivity for Y. pestis and consistent intraspecific signal transduction levels. False positives were not obtained from species typically associated with bacteremia or those relevant to plague diagnosis. However, some non-pestis Yersinia strains and Enterobacteriaceae did elicit signals, albeit at highly attenuated transduction levels. Diagnostic performance was assayed in simple broth-enriched blood samples and standard aerobic culture bottles. In blood, <102 CFU/ml was detected within 5 h. In addition, Y. pestis was identified directly from positive blood cultures within 20 to 45 min without further processing. Importantly, coincubation of blood samples with antibiotics facilitated simultaneous antimicrobial susceptibility profiling. Consequently, the reporter phage demonstrated rapid detection and antibiotic susceptibility profiling directly from clinical samples, features that may improve patient prognosis during plague outbreaks.
PMCID: PMC4136182  PMID: 24920765
20.  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
21.  Antigenic Fingerprinting of H5N1 Avian Influenza Using Convalescent Sera and Monoclonal Antibodies Reveals Potential Vaccine and Diagnostic Targets 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(4):e1000049.
Using whole-genome-fragment phage display libraries, Hana Golding and colleagues identify the viral epitopes recognized by serum antibodies in humans who have recovered from infection with H5N1 avian influenza.
Transmission of highly pathogenic avian H5N1 viruses from poultry to humans have raised fears of an impending influenza pandemic. Concerted efforts are underway to prepare effective vaccines and therapies including polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies against H5N1. Current efforts are hampered by the paucity of information on protective immune responses against avian influenza. Characterizing the B cell responses in convalescent individuals could help in the design of future vaccines and therapeutics.
Methods and Findings
To address this need, we generated whole-genome–fragment phage display libraries (GFPDL) expressing fragments of 15–350 amino acids covering all the proteins of A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1). These GFPDL were used to analyze neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies and sera of five individuals who had recovered from H5N1 infection. This approach led to the mapping of two broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies with conformation-dependent epitopes. In H5N1 convalescent sera, we have identified several potentially protective H5N1-specific human antibody epitopes in H5 HA[(-10)-223], neuraminidase catalytic site, and M2 ectodomain. In addition, for the first time to our knowledge in humans, we identified strong reactivity against PB1-F2, a putative virulence factor, following H5N1 infection. Importantly, novel epitopes were identified, which were recognized by H5N1-convalescent sera but did not react with sera from control individuals (H5N1 naïve, H1N1 or H3N2 seropositive).
This is the first study, to our knowledge, describing the complete antibody repertoire following H5N1 infection. Collectively, these data will contribute to rational vaccine design and new H5N1-specific serodiagnostic surveillance tools.
Editors' Summary
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a viral infection of the airways. Most recover quickly but seasonal influenza outbreaks (epidemics) kill about half a million people annually. These epidemics occur because small but frequent changes in the viral proteins (antigens) to which the human immune system responds mean that an immune response produced one year by infection or through vaccination provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Influenza viruses also occasionally appear that contain major antigenic changes. Human populations have little or no immunity to such viruses (which often originate in animals or birds), so they can start deadly global epidemics (pandemics ). Worryingly, the last influenza pandemic occurred in 1968 and many experts fear that another pandemic is now overdue. The trigger for such a pandemic, they think, could be the avian (bird) H5N1 influenza virus, which first appeared in 1996 in a goose in China. The name indicates the types of two major influenza antigens present in the virus: H5N1 carries type 5 hemagglutinin and type 1 neuraminidase.
Why Was This Study Done?
H5N1 has caused about 400 confirmed cases of human influenza and more than 250 deaths in the past decade but it has not started a human pandemic because it cannot pass easily between people. However, it could possibly acquire this ability at any time, so it is a priority to develop both vaccines that will provide protection against a pandemic H5N1 viral strain, as well as antibody-based antiviral therapies for people not protected by vaccination (antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that help to fight infections; people can sometimes be protected from infection by injecting them with pre-prepared antibodies). To do this, scientists need to know how the human immune system responds to the H5N1 virus. In particular, they need to know which parts of the virus the immune system can detect and make antibodies against. In this study, therefore, the researchers characterize the specific antibody responses found in people recovering from infection with H5N1.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers made several “genome-fragment phage display libraries”, collections of bacterial viruses (phages) engineered so that each phage makes one of many possible short pieces (polypeptides) of a nonphage protein. Such “libraries” can be used to investigate which fragments are recognized by antibodies from a given source. In this case, several libraries were made that contained fragments of the genome of the H5N1 strain responsible for an outbreak of human influenza in Vietnam in 2004–2005 (A/Vietnam/1203/2004). The researchers used these libraries to analyze the antibodies made by five Vietnamese people recovering from infection with A/Vietnam/1203/2004. H5N1 convalescent blood samples, the researchers report, contained antibodies that recognized small regions (“epitopes”) in several viral proteins, including hemagglutinin, neuraminidase, a structural protein called M2, and a viral protein called PB1-F2 that is partly responsible for the severity of H5N1 infections. Several of the novel epitopes identified were not recognized by antibodies in blood taken from people recovering from infection with other influenza viruses. The researchers also used their phage display libraries to analyze two neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies generated from patients infected with A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (neutralizing antibodies protect mice against normally lethal challenge with H5N1; monoclonal antibodies are generated in the laboratory by creating continuously growing cell lines that produce a single type of antibody). Importantly, both of the neutralizing monoclonal antibodies recognized “noncontinuous conformation-dependent epitopes”—protein sequences that are not adjacent to one another in the polypeptide sequence of the protein, but that lie close together in space because of the way the protein is folded up.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although some aspects of the antibody repertoire produced in people exposed to the H5N1 influenza virus may have been missed in this analysis, these findings provide important and detailed new information about how the human immune system responds to infection with this virus. In particular, they show that people recovering from H5N1 infection make a diverse range of antibodies against several viral proteins for at least six months and identify specific parts of H5N1 that may be particularly good at stimulating a protective immune response. This information can now be used to help design vaccines against H5N1 and antibody-based therapies for the treatment of H5N1 infections, and to develop new tools for monitoring outbreaks of avian influenza in human populations.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Malik Peiris
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information for about influenza for patients and professionals, including specific information on avian and pandemic influenza (in several languages)
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza (in several languages) and on H5N1 avian influenza (in several languages), and a global timeline about H5N1 avian influenza infection in birds and people
The UK Health Protection Agency provides information on avian, pandemic, and epidemic (seasonal) influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza and bird flu (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2661249  PMID: 19381279
22.  Soil-based systemic delivery and phyllosphere in vivo propagation of bacteriophages 
Bacteriophage  2012;2(4):215-224.
Soil-based root applications and attenuated bacterial strains were evaluated as means to enhance bacteriophage persistence on plants for bacterial disease control. In addition, the systemic nature of phage applied to tomato roots was also evaluated. Several experiments were conducted applying either single phages or phage mixtures specific for Ralstonia solanacearum, Xanthomonas perforans or X. euvesicatoria to soil surrounding tomato plants and measuring the persistence and translocation of the phages over time. In general, all phages persisted in the roots of treated plants and were detected in stems and leaves; although phage level varied and persistence in stems and leaves was at a much lower level compared with persistence in roots. Bacterial wilt control was typically best if the phage or phage mixtures were applied to the soil surrounding tomatoes at the time of inoculation, less effective if applied 3 days before inoculation, and ineffective if applied 3 days after inoculation. The use of an attenuated X. perforans strain was also evaluated to improve the persistence of phage populations on tomato leaf surfaces. In greenhouse and field experiments, foliar applications of an attenuated mutant X. perforans 91-118:∆OPGH strain prior to phage applications significantly improved phage persistence on tomato foliage compared with untreated tomato foliage. Both the soil-based bacteriophage delivery and the use of attenuated bacterial strains improved bacteriophage persistence on respective root and foliar tissues, with evidence of translocation with soil-based bacteriophage applications. Both strategies could lead to improved control of bacterial pathogens on plants.
PMCID: PMC3594209  PMID: 23532156
bacteriophage; biocontrol; phage; tomato
23.  Phages Preying on Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus thuringiensis: Past, Present and Future 
Viruses  2014;6(7):2623-2672.
Many bacteriophages (phages) have been widely studied due to their major role in virulence evolution of bacterial pathogens. However, less attention has been paid to phages preying on bacteria from the Bacillus cereus group and their contribution to the bacterial genetic pool has been disregarded. Therefore, this review brings together the main information for the B. cereus group phages, from their discovery to their modern biotechnological applications. A special focus is given to phages infecting Bacillus anthracis, B. cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. These phages belong to the Myoviridae, Siphoviridae, Podoviridae and Tectiviridae families. For the sake of clarity, several phage categories have been made according to significant characteristics such as lifestyles and lysogenic states. The main categories comprise the transducing phages, phages with a chromosomal or plasmidial prophage state, γ-like phages and jumbo-phages. The current genomic characterization of some of these phages is also addressed throughout this work and some promising applications are discussed here.
PMCID: PMC4113786  PMID: 25010767
(bacterio)phages; Bacillus cereus group; Bacillus anthracis; Bacillus thuringiensis; transducing phages; chromosomal prophages; plasmidial prophages; jumbo-phages; Gamma-like phages
24.  Isolation and Characterization of a Virulent Bacteriophage AB1 of Acinetobacter baumannii 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:131.
Acinetobacter baumannii is an emerging nosocomial pathogen worldwide with increasing prevalence of multi-drug and pan-drug resistance. A. baumannii exists widely in natural environment, especially in health care settings, and has been shown difficult to be eradicated. Bacteriophages are often considered alternative agent for controlling bacterial infection and contamination. In this study, we described the isolation and characterization of one virulent bacteriophage AB1 capable of specifically infecting A. baumannii.
A virulent bacteriophage AB1, specific for infecting a clinical strain A. baumannii KD311, was first isolated from marine sediment sample. Restriction analysis indicated that phage AB1 was a dsDNA virus with an approximate genome size of 45.2 kb to 46.9 kb. Transmission electron microscopy showed that phage AB1 had an icosahedral head with a non-contractile tail and collar or whisker structures, and might be tentatively classified as a member of the Siphoviridae family. Proteomic pattern of phage AB1, generated by SDS-PAGE using purified phage particles, revealed five major bands and six minor bands with molecular weight ranging from 14 to 80 kilo-dalton. Also determined was the adsorption rate of phage AB1 to the host bacterium, which was significantly enhanced by addition of 10 mM CaCl2. In a single step growth test, phage AB1 was shown having a latent period of 18 minutes and a burst size of 409. Moreover, pH and thermal stability of phage AB1 were also investigated. At the optimal pH 6.0, 73.2% of phages survived after 60 min incubation at 50°C. When phage AB1 was used to infect four additional clinical isolates of A. baumannii, one clinical isolate of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa lab strains PAK and PAO1, none of the tested strains was found susceptible, indicating a relatively narrow host range for phage AB1.
Phage AB1 was capable of eliciting efficient lysis of A. baumannii, revealing its potential as a non-toxic sanitizer for controlling A. baumannii infection and contamination in both hospital and other public environments.
PMCID: PMC2874798  PMID: 20426877
25.  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

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