Phenotypic and genotypic variations within a single bacteriophage species.

P.J. Ceyssens, T. Glonti, N.M. Kropinski, R. Lavigne, N. Chanishvili, Leonid Kulakov, N. Lashkhi, M. Tediashvili, M. Merabishvili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although horizontal gene transfer plays a pivotal role in bacteriophage evolution, many lytic phage genomes are clearly shaped by vertical evolution. We investigated the influence of minor genomic deletions and insertions on various phage-related phenotypic and serological properties. Findings. We collected ten different isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage KMV. All sequenced genomes (42-43 kb, long direct terminal repeats) are nearly identical, which intuitively implied strongly similar infections cycles. However, their latent periods vary between 21 and 28 minutes and they are able to lyse between 5 and 58% of a collection of 107 clinical P. aeruginosa strains. We also noted that phages with identical tail structures displayed profound differences in host spectra. Moreover, point mutations in tail and spike proteins were sufficient to evade neutralization by two phage-specific antisera, isolated from rabbits. Conclusion: Although all analyzed phages are 83-97% identical at the genome level, they display a surprisingly large variation in various phenotypic properties. The small overlap in host spectrum and their ability to readily escape immune defences against a nearly identical phage are promising elements for the application of these phages in phage therapy. © 2011 Ceyssens et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Reaxys Database Information|

Original languageEnglish
Article number134
Number of pages5
JournalVirology journal
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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