A mutant bacteriophage evolved to infect resistant bacteria gained a broader host range

Michal Habusha, Elhanan Tzipilevich, Osher Fiyaksel, Sigal Ben-Yehuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bacteriophages (phages) are the most abundant entities in nature, yet little is known about their capacity to acquire new hosts and invade new niches. By exploiting the Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) and its lytic phage SPO1 as a model, we followed the coevolution of bacteria and phages. After infection, phage-resistant bacteria were readily isolated. These bacteria were defective in production of glycosylated wall teichoic acid (WTA) polymers that served as SPO1 receptor. Subsequently, a SPO1 mutant phage that could infect the resistant bacteria evolved. The emerging phage contained mutations in two genes, encoding the baseplate and fibers required for host attachment. Remarkably, the mutant phage gained the capacity to infect non-host Bacillus species that are not infected by the wild-type phage. We provide evidence that the evolved phage lost its dependency on the species-specific glycosylation pattern of WTA polymers. Instead, the mutant phage gained the capacity to directly adhere to the WTA backbone, conserved among different species, thereby crossing the species barrier.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1463-1475
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume111
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A mutant bacteriophage evolved to infect resistant bacteria gained a broader host range'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this