Bacteriophages are used widely in many fields, and phages with high purity and infectivity are required. Convective interaction media (CIM) methacrylate monoliths were used for the purification of mycobacteriophage D29. The lytic phages D29 from bacterial lysate were purified primarily by polyethylene glycol 8000 or ammonium sulphate, and then the resulting phages were passed through the CIM monolithic columns for further purification. After the whole purification process, more than 99% of the total proteins were removed irrespective which primary purification method was used. The total recovery rates of viable phages were around 10-30%. Comparable results were obtained when the purification method was scaled-up from a 0.34mL CIM DEAE (diethylamine) monolithic disk to an 8mL CIM DEAE monolithic column.
Microbiome dysbiosis caused by antibiotic treatment has been associated with both the susceptibility and relapsing of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Bacteriophage (phage) therapy offers target specificity and dose amplification in situ, but few studies have focused on their use in CDI treatment. This mainly reflects the lack of strictly virulent phages that target this pathogen. Whilst it is widely accepted that temperate phages are unsuitable for therapeutic purposes due to their transduction potential, analysis of seven C. difficile phages confirmed that this impact could be curtailed by the application of multiple phage types. Here, host range analysis of six myoviruses and one siphovirus was conducted on 80 strains representing 21 major epidemic and clinically severe ribotypes. The phages had complementary coverage; lysing 18 and 62 of the ribotypes and strains tested respectively. Single-phage treatments of ribotypes 076, 014/020 and 027 strains showed an initial reduction in bacterial load followed by emergence of phage-resistant colonies. However, these colonies remained susceptible to phage infection with an unrelated phage. In contrast, specific phage combinations caused complete lysis of C. difficile in vitro and prevented the appearance of resistant/lysogenic clones. Using a hamster model, oral delivery of optimized phage combinations resulted in reduced C. difficile colonization 36 h post-infection. Interestingly, free phages were recovered from the bowel at this time. In a challenge model of the disease, phage treatment delayed the onset of symptoms by 33 h compared to untreated animals. These data demonstrate the therapeutic potential of phage combinations to treat CDI.
Multi-drug resistant (MDR) enteric bacteria are of increasing global concern. A clonal group, Escherichia coli sequence type (ST) 131, harbors both MDR and a deadly complement of virulence factors. Patients with an immunocompromised system are at high risk of infections with these E. coli and there is strong epidemiologic evidence that the human intestinal tract, as well as household pets, may be a reservoir. Here, we examine if phages are an effective treatment strategy against this clonal group in murine models of bacteremia that recapitulate clinical infections. Bacteriophages isolated from known E. coli reservoirs lyse a diverse array of MDR ST131 clinical isolates. Phage HP3 reduced E. coli levels and improved health scores for mice infected with two distinct ST131 strains. Efficacy was correlated to in vitro lysis ability by the infecting phage and the level of virulence of the E. coli strain. Importantly, it is also demonstrated that E. coli bacteremia initiated from translocation across the intestinal tract in an immunocompromised host is substantially reduced after phage treatment. This study demonstrates that phage, isolated from the environment and with little experimental manipulation, can be effective in combating even the most serious of infections by E. coli “superbugs”.
Vibrio cholerae-specific bacteriophages are common features of the microbial community during cholera infection in humans. Phages impose strong selective pressure that favors the expansion of phage-resistant strains over their vulnerable counterparts. The mechanisms allowing virulent V. cholerae strains to defend against the ubiquitous threat of predatory phages have not been established. Here, we show that V. cholerae PLEs (phage-inducible chromosomal island-like elements) are widespread genomic islands dedicated to phage defense. Analysis of V. cholerae isolates spanning a 60-year collection period identified five unique PLEs. Remarkably, we found that all PLEs (regardless of geographic or temporal origin) respond to infection by a myovirus called ICP1, the most prominent V. cholerae phage found in cholera patient stool samples from Bangladesh. We found that PLE activity reduces phage genome replication and accelerates cell lysis following ICP1 infection, killing infected host cells and preventing the production of progeny phage. PLEs are mobilized by ICP1 infection and can spread to neighboring cells such that protection from phage predation can be horizontally acquired. Our results reveal that PLEs are a persistent feature of the V. cholerae mobilome that are adapted to providing protection from a single predatory phage and advance our understanding of how phages influence pathogen evolution.
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and they are found everywhere their bacterial hosts are present, including the human body. To explore the presence of phages in clinical samples, we assessed 65 clinical samples (blood, ascitic fluid, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and serum). Infectious tailed phages were detected in >45% of ascitic fluid and urine samples. Three examples of phage interference with bacterial isolation were observed. Phages prevented the confluent bacterial growth required for an antibiogram assay when the inoculum was taken from an agar plate containing lysis plaques, but not when taken from a single colony in a phage-free area. In addition, bacteria were isolated directly from ascitic fluid, but not after liquid enrichment culture of the same samples, since phage propagation lysed the bacteria. Lastly, Gram-negative bacilli observed in a urine sample did not grow on agar plates due to the high densities of infectious phages in the sample.
Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune effectors that lyse virally infected and tumorigenic cells through the formation of an immunological synapse. Actin remodeling at the lytic immunological synapse is a critical requirement for multiple facets of cytotoxic function. Activating receptor and integrin signaling leads to the regulated turnover and remodeling of actin, which is required for adhesion, sustained receptor signaling, and ultimately exocytosis. NK cells undergo lytic granule exocytosis in hypodense regions of a pervasive actin network. Although these requirements have been well demonstrated, neither the dynamic regulation of synaptic actin nor its specific function, however, has been determined at a nanoscale level. Here, live-cell super-resolution microscopy demonstrates nanoscale filamentous actin dynamism in NK cell lytic granule secretion. Following cell spreading, the overall content of the branched actin network at an immune synapse is stable over time and contains branched actin fibers and discrete actin foci. Similar actin architecture is generated in cytolytic T cells, although the timescale differs from that of NK cells. Individual filament displacement leads to stochastic clearance formation and disappearance, which are independent of lytic granule positioning. Actin dynamism is dependent upon branched network formation mediated by Arp2/3 and contractility generated by myosin IIA. Importantly, the use of small-molecule inhibitors demonstrates that actin dynamism is ultimately needed for granule secretion. Thus, we describe a requirement for nanoscale actin fiber rearrangement in generating the complex actin architecture that enables lytic granule secretion.
Bacteriophages (phages) typically exhibit a narrow host range, yet they tremendously impact horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Here, we investigate phage dynamics in communities harboring phage-resistant ® and sensitive (S) bacteria, a common scenario in nature. Using Bacillus subtilis and its lytic phage SPP1, we demonstrate that R cells, lacking SPP1 receptor, can be lysed by SPP1 when co-cultured with S cells. This unanticipated lysis was triggered in part by phage lytic enzymes released from nearby infected cells. Strikingly, we discovered that occasionally phages can invade R cells, a phenomenon we termed acquisition of sensitivity (ASEN). We found that ASEN is mediated by R cells transiently gaining phage attachment molecules from neighboring S cells and provide evidence that this molecular exchange is driven by membrane vesicles. Exchange of phage attachment molecules could even occur in an interspecies fashion, enabling phage adsorption to non-host species, providing an unexplored route for HGT. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
A major limitation in using bacteriophage-based applications is their narrow host range. Approaches for extending the host range have focused primarily on lytic phages in hosts supporting their propagation rather than approaches for extending the ability of DNA transduction into phage-restrictive hosts. To extend the host range of T7 phage for DNA transduction, we have designed hybrid particles displaying various phage tail/tail fiber proteins. These modular particles were programmed to package and transduce DNA into hosts that restrict T7 phage propagation. We have also developed an innovative generalizable platform that considerably enhances DNA transfer into new hosts by artificially selecting tails that efficiently transduce DNA. In addition, we have demonstrated that the hybrid particles transduce desired DNA into desired hosts. This study thus critically extends and improves the ability of the particles to transduce DNA into novel phage-restrictive hosts, providing a platform for myriad applications that require this ability.
In order for Staphylococcus aureus to thrive inside the mammalian host, the bacterium has to overcome iron scarcity. S. aureus is thought to produce toxins that lyse erythrocytes, releasing hemoglobin, the most abundant iron source in mammals. Here we identify the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) as the receptor for the S. aureus hemolytic leukocidins LukED and HlgAB. By assessing human erythrocytes with DARC polymorphisms, we determined that HlgAB- and LukED-mediated lysis directly relates to DARC expression. DARC is required for S. aureus-mediated lysis of human erythrocytes, and DARC overexpression is sufficient to render cells susceptible to toxin-mediated lysis. HlgA and LukE bind directly to DARC through different regions, and by targeting DARC, HlgAB and LukED support S. aureus growth in a hemoglobin-acquisition-dependent manner. These findings elucidate how S. aureus targets and lyses erythrocytes to release one of the scarcest nutrients within the mammalian host.
In this review, we assess our current understanding of the role of bacteriophages infecting the human gut bacterial community in health and disease. In general, bacteriophages contribute to the structure of their microbial communities by driving host and viral diversification, bacterial evolution, and by expanding the functional diversity of ecosystems. Gut bacteriophages are an ensemble of unique and shared phages in individuals, which encompass temperate phages found predominately as prophage in gut bacteria (prophage reservoir) and lytic phages. In healthy individuals, only a small fraction of the prophage reservoir is activated and found as extracellular phages. Phage community dysbiosis is characterized by a shift in the activated prophage community or an increase of lytic phages, and has been correlated with disease, suggesting that a proper balance between lysis and lysogeny is needed to maintain health. Consequently, the concept of microbial dysbiosis might be extended to the phage component of the microbiome as well. Understanding the dynamics and mechanisms to restore balance after dysbiosis is an active area of research. The use of phage transplants to re-establish health suggests that phages can be used as disease treatment. Such advances represent milestones in our understanding of gut phages in human health and should fuel research on their role in health and disease.