• Comparison of Staphylococcus Phage K with Close Phage Relatives Commonly Employed in Phage Therapeutics

      Ajuebor, Jude; Buttimer, Colin; Arroyo-Moreno, Sara; Chanishvili, Nina; Gabriel, Emma; O’Mahony, Jim; McAuliffe, Olivia; Neve, Horst; Franz, Charles; Coffey, Aidan; et al. (MDPI AG, 2018-04-25)
      The increase in antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is a public health danger requiring alternative treatment options, and this has led to renewed interest in phage therapy. In this respect, we describe the distinct host ranges of Staphylococcus phage K, and two other K-like phages against 23 isolates, including 21 methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) representative sequence types representing the Irish National MRSA Reference Laboratory collection. The two K-like phages were isolated from the Fersisi therapeutic phage mix from the Tbilisi Eliava Institute, and were designated B1 (vB_SauM_B1) and JA1 (vB_SauM_JA1). The sequence relatedness of B1 and JA1 to phage K was observed to be 95% and 94% respectively. In terms of host range on the 23 Staphylococcus isolates, B1 and JA1 infected 73.9% and 78.2% respectively, whereas K infected only 43.5%. Eleven open reading frames (ORFs) present in both phages B1 and JA1 but absent in phage K were identified by comparative genomic analysis. These ORFs were also found to be present in the genomes of phages (Team 1, vB_SauM-fRuSau02, Sb_1 and ISP) that are components of several commercial phage mixtures with reported wide host ranges. This is the first comparative study of therapeutic staphylococcal phages within the recently described genus Kayvirus.
    • Comparison of Staphylococcus Phage K with Close Phage Relatives Commonly Employed in Phage Therapeutics

      Ajuebor, Jude; Buttimer, Colin; Arroyo-Moreno, Sara; Chanishvili, Nina; Gabriel, Emma; O’Mahony, Jim; McAuliffe, Olivia; Neve, Horst; Franz, Charles; Coffey, Aidan; et al. (MDPI AG, 2018-04-25)
      The increase in antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is a public health danger requiring alternative treatment options, and this has led to renewed interest in phage therapy. In this respect, we describe the distinct host ranges of Staphylococcus phage K, and two other K-like phages against 23 isolates, including 21 methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) representative sequence types representing the Irish National MRSA Reference Laboratory collection. The two K-like phages were isolated from the Fersisi therapeutic phage mix from the Tbilisi Eliava Institute, and were designated B1 (vB_SauM_B1) and JA1 (vB_SauM_JA1). The sequence relatedness of B1 and JA1 to phage K was observed to be 95% and 94% respectively. In terms of host range on the 23 Staphylococcus isolates, B1 and JA1 infected 73.9% and 78.2% respectively, whereas K infected only 43.5%. Eleven open reading frames (ORFs) present in both phages B1 and JA1 but absent in phage K were identified by comparative genomic analysis. These ORFs were also found to be present in the genomes of phages (Team 1, vB_SauM-fRuSau02, Sb_1 and ISP) that are components of several commercial phage mixtures with reported wide host ranges. This is the first comparative study of therapeutic staphylococcal phages within the recently described genus Kayvirus.
    • Complete Genome Sequences of vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293, Two Bacteriophages with Specificity for Listeria monocytogenes Strains of Serotypes 4b and 4e

      Casey, A.; Kieran, Jordan; Coffey, Aidan; McAuliffe, Olivia; European Union; Safefood; PROMISE 265877; FOODSEG 266061 (American Society for Microbiology, 09/04/2015)
      Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for the rare disease listeriosis, which is associated with the consumption of contaminated food products. We report here the complete genome sequences of vB_LmoS_188 and vB_LmoS_293, phages isolated from environmental sources and that have host specificity for L. monocytogenes strains of the 4b and 4e serotypes.
    • Effectiveness of current hygiene practices on minimization of Listeria monocytogenes in different mushroom production‐related environments

      Pennone, Vincenzo; Dygico, Kenneth Lyonel; Coffey, Aidan; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; Grogan, Helen; McAuliffe, Olivia; Burgess, Catherine M.; Jordan, Kieran; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/F/881 (Wiley, 2020-05-20)
      Background: The commercial production of Agaricus bisporus is a three stage process: 1) production of compost, also called “substrate”; 2) production of casing soil; and 3) production of the mushrooms. Hygiene practices are undertaken at each stage: pasteurization of the substrate, hygiene practices applied during the production of casing soil, postharvest steam cookout, and disinfection at the mushroom production facilities. However, despite these measures, foodborne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, are reported in the mushroom production environment. In this work, the presence of L. monocytogenes was evaluated before and after the application of hygiene practices at each stage of mushroom production with swabs, samples of substrate, casing, and spent mushroom growing substrates. Results: L. monocytogenes was not detected in any casing or substrate sample by enumeration according to BS EN ISO 11290-2:1998. Analysis of the substrate showed that L. monocytogenes was absent in 10 Phase II samples following pasteurization, but was then present in 40% of 10 Phase III samples. At the casing production facility, 31% of 59 samples were positive. Hygiene improvements were applied, and after four sampling occasions, 22% of 37 samples were positive, but no statistically significant difference was observed (p > .05). At mushroom production facilities, the steam cookout process inactivated L. monocytogenes in the spent growth substrate, but 13% of 15 floor swabs at Company 1 and 19% of 16 floor swabs at Company 2, taken after disinfection, were positive. Conclusion: These results showed the possibility of L. monocytogenes recontamination of Phase III substrate, cross-contamination at the casing production stage and possible survival after postharvest hygiene practices at the mushroom growing facilities. This information will support the development of targeted measures to minimize L. monocytogenes in the mushroom industry.
    • Inhibition of L. monocytogenes Biofilm Formation by the Amidase Domain of the Phage vB_LmoS_293 Endolysin

      Pennone, Vincenzo; Sanz-Gaitero, Marta; O'Connor, Paula; Coffey, Aidan; Jordan, Kieran; van Raaij, Mark J; McAuliffe, Olivia; Spanish Ministry of Science; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (MDPI, 2019-08-06)
      Listeria monocytogenes is a ubiquitous Gram-positive bacterium that is a major concern for food business operators because of its pathogenicity and ability to form biofilms in food production environments. Bacteriophages (phages) have been evaluated as biocontrol agents for L. monocytogenes in a number of studies and, indeed, certain phages have been approved for use as anti-listerial agents in food processing environments (ListShield and PhageGuard Listex). Endolysins are proteins produced by phages in the host cell. They cleave the peptidoglycan cell wall, thus allowing release of progeny phage into the environment. In this study, the amidase domain of the phage vB_LmoS_293 endolysin (293-amidase) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia. coli(E. coli). Muralytic activity at different concentrations, pH and temperature values, lytic spectrum and activity against biofilms was determined for the purified 293-amidase protein. The results showed activity on autoclaved cells at three different temperatures (20 °C, 37 °C and 50 °C), with a wider specificity (L. monocytogenes 473 and 3099, a serotype 4b and serogroup 1/2b-3b-7, respectively) compared to the phage itself, which targets only L. monocytogenes serotypes 4b and 4e. The protein also inhibits biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces. These results show the potential of using recombinant antimicrobial proteins against pathogens in the food production environment.
    • Molecular Characterisation of Bacteriophage K Towards Applications for the Biocontrol of Pathogenic Staphylococci

      O'Flaherty, Sarah; Flynn, James; Coffey, Aidan; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Meaney, William J; Ross, R Paul (Teagasc, 01/01/2006)
      The aim of this work was to characterise staphylococcal bacteriophage (a bacterial virus) and to assess their potential as therapeutic agents against pathogenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus, particularly mastitis-causing strains. The project included the use of two newly isolated phage CS1 and DW2, and an existing polyvalent phage. The new phage were isolated from the farmyard and characterised by electron microscopy and restriction analysis. Both phage were shown to belong to the Siphoviridae family and were lytic for representatives of all three clonal groups of Irish mastitis-associated staphylococci. A cocktail of three phage (CS1, DW2 and K) at 108 (plaque forming units) PFU/ml was infused into cows teats in animal trials. The lack of an increase in somatic cell counts in milks indicated strongly that the phage did not irritate the animal. In addition, the most potent phage used in this study, phage K, was further studied by genome sequencing, which revealed a linear DNA genome of 127,395 base pairs, which encodes 118 putative ORFs (open reading frames).
    • Phages of non-dairy lactococci: isolation and characterization of ΦL47, a phage infecting the grass isolate Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris DPC6860

      Cavanagh, Daniel; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Neve, Horst; Coffey, Aidan; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; McAuliffe, Olivia; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Frontiers, 13/01/2014)
      Lactococci isolated from non-dairy sources have been found to possess enhanced metabolic activity when compared to dairy strains. These capabilities may be harnessed through the use of these strains as starter or adjunct cultures to produce more diverse flavor profiles in cheese and other dairy products. To understand the interactions between these organisms and the phages that infect them, a number of phages were isolated against lactococcal strains of non-dairy origin. One such phage, ΦL47, was isolated from a sewage sample using the grass isolate L. lactis ssp. cremoris DPC6860 as a host. Visualization of phage virions by transmission electron microscopy established that this phage belongs to the family Siphoviridae and possesses a long tail fiber, previously unseen in dairy lactococcal phages. Determination of the lytic spectrum revealed a broader than expected host range, with ΦL47 capable of infecting 4 industrial dairy strains, including ML8, HP and 310, and 3 additional non-dairy isolates. Whole genome sequencing of ΦL47 revealed a dsDNA genome of 128, 546 bp, making it the largest sequenced lactococcal phage to date. In total, 190 open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, and comparative analysis revealed that the predicted products of 117 of these ORFs shared greater than 50% amino acid identity with those of L. lactis phage Φ949, a phage isolated from cheese whey. Despite their different ecological niches, the genomic content and organization of ΦL47 and Φ949 are quite similar, with both containing 4 gene clusters oriented in different transcriptional directions. Other features that distinguish ΦL47 from Φ949 and other lactococcal phages, in addition to the presence of the tail fiber and the genome length, include a low GC content (32.5%) and a high number of predicted tRNA genes (8). Comparative genome analysis supports the conclusion that ΦL47 is a new member of the 949 lactococcal phage group which currently includes the dairy Φ949.
    • Transcriptome analysis of Listeria monocytogenes exposed to biocide stress reveals a multi-system response involving cell wall synthesis, sugar uptake, and motility

      Casey, A.; Fox, Edward M.; Schmitz-Esser, Stephan; Coffey, Aidan; McAuliffe, Olivia; Jordan, Kieran; European Union; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 265877; 266061 (Frontiers Media SA, 28/02/2014)
      Listeria monocytogenes is a virulent food-borne pathogen most often associated with the consumption of “ready-to-eat” foods. The organism is a common contaminant of food processing plants where it may persist for extended periods of time. A commonly used approach for the control of Listeria monocytogenes in the processing environment is the application of biocides such as quaternary ammonium compounds. In this study, the transcriptomic response of a persistent strain of L. monocytogenes (strain 6179) on exposure to a sub-lethal concentration of the quaternary ammonium compound benzethonium chloride (BZT) was assessed. Using RNA-Seq, gene expression levels were quantified by sequencing the transcriptome of L. monocytogenes 6179 in the presence (4 ppm) and absence of BZT, and mapping each data set to the sequenced genome of strain 6179. Hundreds of differentially expressed genes were identified, and subsequent analysis suggested that many biological processes such as peptidoglycan biosynthesis, bacterial chemotaxis and motility, and carbohydrate uptake, were involved in the response of L. monocyotogenes to the presence of BZT. The information generated in this study further contributes to our understanding of the response of bacteria to environmental stress. In addition, this study demonstrates the importance of using the bacterium's own genome as a reference when analysing RNA-Seq data.
    • Whole genome sequence analysis; an improved technology that identifies underlying genotypic differences between closely related Listeria monocytogenes strains

      Fox, Edward M.; Casey, Aidan; Jordan, Kieran; Coffey, Aidan; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; McAuliffe, Olivia (Elsevier, 2017-07-08)
      As the new technology of whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been shown to have greater discriminatory power in differentiating strains than the much-used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), there is currently a transition from using PFGE to WGS for disease outbreak investigation. Therefore, there is a need for comparison of bacterial isolates using both PFGE and WGS. In this study, two pairs of L. monocytogenes strains with geographically diverse sources of isolation but which had indistinguishable or closely related PFGE profiles, were subjected to WGS analysis. Comparative analysis of their genomes showed that one pair of strains which had closely related PFGE profiles in fact differed significantly from one another in terms of their antibiotic and heavy metal stress resistance determinants, and mobile genetic elements. Therefore, this research demonstrated the ability of WGS analysis to differentiate very closely related strains and that WGS analysis represents the most effective tool available for subtyping L. monocytogenes isolates.