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Isolation and characterization of two Klebsiella pneumoniae phages encoding divergent depolymerases

AuthorsDomingo-Calap, Pilar; Beamud, Beatriz; Mora-Quilis, Lucas; González-Candelas, Fernando; Sanjuán, Rafael
KeywordsKlebsiella pneumoniae
Wide infection range
Phage therapy
Issue Date2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences 21 (9): 3160 (2020)
AbstractThe emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria is a major global health concern. The search for new therapies has brought bacteriophages into the spotlight, and new phages are being described as possible therapeutic agents. Among the bacteria that are most extensively resistant to current antibiotics is Klebsiella pneumoniae, whose hypervariable extracellular capsule makes treatment particularly difficult. Here, we describe two new K. pneumoniae phages, πVLC5 and πVLC6, isolated from environmental samples. These phages belong to the genus Drulisvirus within the family Podoviridae. Both phages encode a similar tail spike protein with putative depolymerase activity, which is shared among other related phages and probably determines their ability to specifically infect K. pneumoniae capsular types K22 and K37. In addition, we found that phage πVLC6 also infects capsular type K13 and is capable of striping the capsules of K. pneumoniae KL2 and KL3, although the phage was not infectious in these two strains. Genome sequence analysis suggested that the extended tropism of phage πVLC6 is conferred by a second, divergent depolymerase. Phage πVLC5 encodes yet another putative depolymerase, but we found no activity of this phage against capsular types other than K22 and K37, after testing a panel of 77 reference strains. Overall, our results confirm that most phages productively infected one or few Klebsiella capsular types. This constitutes an important challenge for clinical applications.
DescriptionThis article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophage—Molecular Studies.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093160
Appears in Collections:(I2SysBio) Artículos
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