Monday, August 29, 2022

471 - Phage Fight Foils Fitness

Shigella phage A1-1
By Kortright et al., 2022.
AEM 2022, 88(e01514).
CC BY-4.0
This episode: A phage both kills bacterial pathogens and selects for reduced virulence!

Download Episode (6.3 MB, 9.9 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Helminthosporium victoriae 145S virus
News item

Using bacteria-killing viruses to treat bacterial infections, or phage therapy, can be a good alternative to antibiotics in some situations when there are no effective antibiotics for a particular infection. But bacteria can evolve resistance to phages as well as antibiotics, often with little cost to their fitness.

In this study, a phage not only could treat an infection by attacking the bacteria, but the bacterial hosts that do evolve resistance to the phage do so by getting rid of certain structures that help them to cause more serious infection. Thus, therapy with this phage may both reduce the bacterial load and also make those remaining less virulent.

Journal Paper:
Kortright KE, Done RE, Chan BK, Souza V, Turner PE. 2022. Selection for Phage Resistance Reduces Virulence of Shigella flexneri. Appl Environ Microbiol 88:e01514-21.

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