The control of shigellosis in humans enjoys a prominent position in the history of bacteriophage therapy. d’Herelle first demonstrated the efficacy of phage therapy by curing 4 patients of shigellosis, and several subsequent studies confirmed the ability of phages to reduce Shigella based infection. Shigella spp continue to cause millions of illnesses and deaths each year and the use of phages to control the disease in humans and the spread of the bacteria within food and water could point the way forward to the effective management of an infectious disease with global influence.
shigellosis; control; bacteriophage therapy; food safety; shiga toxins
The use of bacteriophages as an effective phage therapy strategy faces significant challenges for controlling plant diseases in the phyllosphere. A number of factors must be taken into account when considering phage therapy for bacterial plant pathogens. Given that effective mitigation requires high populations of phage be present in close proximity to the pathogen at critical times in the disease cycle, the single biggest impediment that affects the efficacy of bacteriophages is their inability to persist on plant surfaces over time due to environmental factors. Inactivation by UV light is the biggest factor reducing bacteriophage persistence on plant surfaces. Therefore, designing strategies that minimize this effect are critical. For instance, application timing can be altered: instead of morning or afternoon application, phages can be applied late in the day to minimize the adverse effects of UV and extend the time high populations of phage persist on leaf surfaces. Protective formulations have been identified which prolong phage viability on the leaf surface; however, UV inactivation continues to be the major limiting factor in developing more effective bacteriophage treatments for bacterial plant pathogens. Other strategies, which have been developed to potentially increase persistence of phages on leaf surfaces, rely on establishing non-pathogenic or attenuated bacterial strains in the phyllosphere that are sensitive to the phage(s) specific to the target bacterium. We have also learned that selecting the correct phages for disease control is critical. This requires careful monitoring of bacterial strains in the field to minimize development of bacterial strains with resistance to the deployed bacteriophages. We also have data that indicate that selecting the phages based on in vivo assays may also be important when developing use for field application. Although bacteriophages have potential in biological control for plant disease control, there are major obstacles, which must be considered.
bacteriophage; biocontrol; phage; tomato
Bacteriophage genomes found in a range of bacterial pathogens encode a diverse array of virulence factors ranging from superantigens or pore forming lysins to numerous exotoxins. Recent studies have uncovered an entirely new class of bacterial virulence factors, called effector proteins or effector toxins, which are encoded within phage genomes that reside among several pathovars of Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica. These effector proteins have multiple domains resulting in proteins that can be multifunctional. The effector proteins encoded within phage genomes are translocated directly from the bacterial cytosol into their eukaryotic target cells by specialized bacterial type three secretion systems (T3SSs). In this review, we will give an overview of the different types of effector proteins encoded within phage genomes and examine their roles in bacterial pathogenesis.
Escherichia coli; Salmonella enterica; phage encoded exotoxins and effector proteins
This review highlights the main strategies available to control phage infection during large-scale milk fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. The topics that are emphasized include the factors influencing bacterial activities, the sources of phage contamination, the methods available to detect and quantify phages, as well as practical solutions to limit phage dispersion through an adapted factory design, the control of air flow, the use of adequate sanitizers, the restricted used of recycled products, and the selection and growth of bacterial cultures.
bacteriophage; dairy industry; milk fermentation; lactic acid bacteria; phage control strategy
Bacteriophages (phages) have been utilized for decades as a means for uniquely identifying their target bacteria. Due to their inherent natural specificity, ease of use, and straightforward production, phage possess a number of desirable attributes which makes them particularly suited as bacterial detectors. As a result, extensive research has been conducted into the development of phage, or phage-derived products to expedite the detection of human pathogens. However, very few phage-based diagnostics have transitioned from the research lab into a clinical diagnostic tool. Herein we review the phage-based platforms that are currently used for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Yersinia pestis, Bacillus anthracis and Staphylococcus aureus in the clinical field. We briefly describe the disease, the current diagnostic options, and the role phage diagnostics play in identifying the cause of infection, and determining antibiotic susceptibility.
clinical diagnosis; bacterial detection; phage; reporter; bioluminescence; infectious disease; species identification
Recombineering, a recently developed technique for efficient genetic manipulation of bacteria, is facilitated by phage-derived recombination proteins and has the advantage of using DNA substrates with short regions of homology. This system was first developed in E. coli but has since been adapted for use in other bacteria. It is now widely used in a number of different systems for a variety of purposes, and the construction of chromosomal gene knockouts, deletions, insertions, point mutations, as well as in vivo cloning, mutagenesis of bacterial artificial chromosomes and phasmids, and the construction of genomic libraries has been reported. However, these methods also can be effectively applied to the genetic modification of bacteriophage genomes, in both their prophage and lytically growing states. The ever-growing collection of fully sequenced bacteriophages raises more questions than they answer, including the unknown functions of vast numbers of genes with no known homologs and of unknown function. Recombineering of phage genomes is central to addressing these questions, enabling the simple construction of mutants, determination of gene essentiality, and elucidation of gene function. In turn, advances in our understanding of phage genomics should present similar recombineering tools for dissecting a multitude of other genetically naïve bacterial systems.
bacteriophage; BRED; recombineering
In the billion years that bacteriophage (or phage) have existed together with bacteria the phage have evolved systems that may be exploited for our benefit. One of these is the lytic system used by the phage to release their progeny from an infected bacterium. Endolysins (or lysins) are highly evolved enzymes in the lytic system produced to cleave essential bonds in the bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan for progeny release. Small quantities of purified recombinant lysin added externally to gram-positive bacteria results in immediate lysis causing log-fold death of the target bacterium. Lysins have now been used successfully in a variety of animal models to control pathogenic antibiotic resistant bacteria found on mucosal surfaces and in infected tissues. The advantages over antibiotics are their specificity for the pathogen without disturbing the normal flora, the low chance of bacterial resistance, and their ability to kill colonizing pathogens on mucosal surfaces, a capacity previously unavailable. Lysins therefore, may be a much-needed anti-infective (or enzybiotic) in an age of mounting antibiotic resistance.
bacteriophage; endolysin; gram-positive bacteria; lytic enzymes; mucosal colonization; phage; prophylaxis; therapeutic
There has been much recent interest in the use of phages as biocontrol agents of foodborne pathogens in animals used for food production, and in the food products themselves. This interest seems to be driven by consumers' request for more natural foods, as well as the fact that foodborne outbreaks continue to occur, globally, in many foods, some of which (such as fresh produce), lack adequate methods to control any pathogenic contamination present. Also, the many successes with respect to regulatory approval of phage based products destined for use in foods is leading to an increase in the number of phage products that are commercially available. At present, these products are directed against three main foodborne pathogens including Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp and Listeria monocytogenes. In the future, it is likely that new phage products will be targeted against emerging foodborne pathogens. Here, we review the current literature and status of phage based strategies aimed at reducing the presence of foodborne pathogenic bacteria in food and the food production environment.
bacteriophage; biocontrol; food safety; bacterial foodborne pathogens; pre-harvest; post-harvest
Phages as bactericidal agents have been employed for 90 years as a means of treating bacterial infections in humans as well as other species, a process known as phage therapy. In this review we explore both the early historical and more modern use of phages to treat human infections. We discuss in particular the little-reviewed French early work, along with the Polish, US, Georgian and Russian historical experiences. We also cover other, more modern examples of phage therapy of humans as differentiated in terms of disease. In addition, we provide discussions of phage safety, other aspects of phage therapy pharmacology, and the idea of phage use as probiotics.
phage history; phage therapy; pharmacology; probiotics; safety; treatment of infectious disease
Bacteriophages or phages are the most abundant organisms in the biosphere and they are a ubiquitous feature of prokaryotic existence. A bacteriophage is a virus which infects a bacterium. Archaea are also infected by viruses, whether these should be referred to as ‘phages’ is debatable, but they are included as such in the scope this article. Phages have been of interest to scientists as tools to understand fundamental molecular biology, as vectors of horizontal gene transfer and drivers of bacterial evolution, as sources of diagnostic and genetic tools and as novel therapeutic agents. Unraveling the biology of phages and their relationship with their hosts is key to understanding microbial systems and their exploitation. In this article we describe the roles of phages in different host systems and show how modeling, microscopy, isolation, genomic and metagenomic based approaches have come together to provide unparalleled insights into these small but vital constituents of the microbial world.
bacteriophage; ecology; cyanophages; archaeal viruses; animal microbiome
In this commentary I consider use of the term “lysis from without” (LO) along with the phenomenon's biological relevance. LO originally described an early bacterial lysis induced by high-multiplicity virion adsorption and that occurs without phage production (here indicated as LOV). Notably, this is more than just high phage multiplicities of adsorption leading to bacterial killing. The action on bacteria of exogenously supplied phage lysin, too, has been described as a form of LO (here, LOL). LOV has been somewhat worked out mechanistically for T4 phages, has been used to elucidate various phage-associated phenomena including discovery of the phage eclipse, may be relevant to phage ecology, and, with resistance to LO (LOR), is blocked by certain phage gene products. Speculation as to the impact of LOV on phage therapy also is fairly common. Since LOV assays are relatively easily performed and not all phages are able to induce LOV, a phage's potential to lyse bacteria without first infecting should be subject to at least in vitro experimental confirmation before the LOV label is applied. The term “abortive infection” may be used more generally to describe non-productive phage infections that kill bacteria.
abortive infection; bacteriophage; lysin; lysis; lysis from without; phage therapy