• Host Specific Diversity in Lactobacillus johnsonii as Evidenced by a Major Chromosomal Inversion and Phage Resistance Mechanisms

      Guinane, Caitriona M.; Kent, Robert M.; Norberg, Sarah; Hill, Colin; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; STANTON, CATHERINE; Ross, R Paul; Enterprise Ireland; CFTD/07/116 (PLOS, 20/04/2011)
      Genetic diversity and genomic rearrangements are a driving force in bacterial evolution and niche adaptation. We sequenced and annotated the genome of Lactobacillus johnsonii DPC6026, a strain isolated from the porcine intestinal tract. Although the genome of DPC6026 is similar in size (1.97mbp) and GC content (34.8%) to the sequenced human isolate L. johnsonii NCC 533, a large symmetrical inversion of approximately 750 kb differentiated the two strains. Comparative analysis among 12 other strains of L. johnsonii including 8 porcine, 3 human and 1 poultry isolate indicated that the genome architecture found in DPC6026 is more common within the species than that of NCC 533. Furthermore a number of unique features were annotated in DPC6026, some of which are likely to have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and contribute to protection against phage infection. A putative type III restriction-modification system was identified, as were novel Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) elements. Interestingly, these particular elements are not widely distributed among L. johnsonii strains. Taken together these data suggest intra-species genomic rearrangements and significant genetic diversity within the L. johnsonii species and indicate towards a host-specific divergence of L. johnsonii strains with respect to genome inversion and phage exposure.
    • Isolation of a Novel Phage with Activity against Streptococcus mutans Biofilms

      Dalmasso, Marion; de Haas, Eric; Neve, Horst; Strain, Ronan; Cousin, Fabien J.; Stockdale, Stephen R.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (PLOS, 23/09/2015)
      Streptococcus mutans is one of the principal agents of caries formation mainly, because of its ability to form biofilms at the tooth surface. Bacteriophages (phages) are promising antimicrobial agents that could be used to prevent or treat caries formation by S. mutans. The aim of this study was to isolate new S. mutans phages and to characterize their antimicrobial properties. A new phage, ɸAPCM01, was isolated from a human saliva sample. Its genome was closely related to the only two other available S. mutans phage genomes, M102 and M102AD. ɸAPCM01 inhibited the growth of S. mutans strain DPC6143 within hours in broth and in artificial saliva at multiplicity of infections as low as 2.5x10-5. In the presence of phage ɸAPCM01 the metabolic activity of a S. mutans biofilm was reduced after 24 h of contact and did not increased again after 48 h, and the live cells in the biofilm decreased by at least 5 log cfu/ml. Despite its narrow host range, this newly isolated S. mutans phage exhibits promising antimicrobial properties.
    • Three New Escherichia coli Phages from the Human Gut Show Promising Potential for Phage Therapy

      Dalmasso, Marion; Strain, Ronan; Neve, Horst; Franz, C.M.A.P.; Cousin, Fabien J.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (PLOS, 09/06/2016)
      With the emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria the use of bacteriophages (phages) is gaining renewed interest as promising anti-microbial agents. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize phages from human fecal samples. Three new coliphages, ɸAPCEc01, ɸAPCEc02 and ɸAPCEc03, were isolated. Their phenotypic and genomic characteristics, and lytic activity against biofilm, and in combination with ciprofloxacin, were investigated. All three phages reduced the growth of E. coli strain DPC6051 at multiplicity of infection (MOI) between 10−3 and 105. A cocktail of all three phages completely inhibited the growth of E. coli. The phage cocktail also reduced biofilm formation and prevented the emergence of phage-resistant mutants which occurred with single phage. When combined with ciprofloxacin, phage alone or in cocktail inhibited the growth of E. coli and prevented the emergence of resistant mutants. These three new phages are promising biocontrol agents for E. coli infections.