Capsid and Tail
A weekly phage periodical
May 17, 2019
Issue 28: Phage banks

Phage banks around the world

Where can you buy phages, and where can you deposit yours? This week, we take a tour of phage banks around the world.

What’s New

How do we translate phage-based applications into clinically- and commercially-viable therapeutics? Join us Sept. 25-26, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium at Kisaco Research’s Phage Futures Europe conference! The new agenda is now up, registration is open, and early bird pricing lasts until June 15. Use discount code PD10 for an extra 10% off!

SponsorConferencePhage TherapyIndustry

Check out two exciting new phage perspectives in mSystems by a couple of key phage scientists: the first, by Jeremy Barr: “Missing a Phage: Unraveling Tripartite Symbioses within the Human Gut”, and the second, by Simon Roux: "A Viral Ecogenomics Framework To Uncover the Secrets of Nature’s “Microbe Whisperers”.

Perspective

Sadly, Dr. Michael Rossmann of Purdue University passed away this week at the age of 88. Dr. Rossmann was a renowned virologist, whose work on structural biology of viruses will not be forgotten. He was key in the discoveries of the structure of the common cold virus, the structure of Zika virus, and his work has led to the visualization of T4 phage in impeccable detail.

In memory

The upcoming PHAGE journal, by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (Editor-in-chief: Martha Clokie), will be launching its inaugural issue in March 2020! The journal covers all aspects of phage biology and is open now for submissions.

New Journal

The Eliava Institute is hosting its second Bacteriophage Research and Methodology summer school training course from July 22-Aug 2, 2019, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The course is for master’s students, PhD students and young scientists, and covers genome annotation and basic phage methodology. Register by June 30!

Workshop

Latest Jobs

Postdoctoral Research Scientist: Phage discovery and characterization
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Prof. Trevor Lithgow

The project aims to discover new phage in samples we have collected from diverse environments across the world, to characterize new features in phage morphology by cryo-electron microscopy, and to understand evolutionary linkages through comparative genomics.

More info and applications through: [email protected]

More Details Last day: June 30, 2019
Post Doc Phage IsolationComparative genomics
Group Leader: Lysins
PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH, Vienna, Austria

PhagoMed, an Austrian biotech company focused on the development of human therapeutic applications of phages and phage-derived proteins, is looking for a Group Leader for their Lysins group. This role will involve leading the research into breakthrough lysin applications in areas of high medical need – together with a highly talented team and a network of leading physicians.

Role:

  • Take the full responsibility to advance the pharmaceutical endolysin development program against the milestones of the development plan
  • Coordinate the development workstreams between the lab work in Vienna, the work at our academic and commercial research partners and any relevant external parties (e.g. Regulatory Consultants)
    (…)
Group Leader Lysin
Senior Scientist
PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH, Vienna, Austria

PhagoMed, an Austrian biotech company focused on the development of human therapeutic applications of phages and phage-derived proteins, is looking for a high-calibre molecular biologist to join their lysin team as Senior Scientist.

Role:

  • Establish research processes according to the latest microbiological technology developments (e.g. robotics and genomic data);
  • Further establish and validate potency model for endolysins against bacteria in (mucosal) biofilm and planktonic growth;
  • Assembly of bacterial panels for species of interest, including in silico analysis of geno- and serotypes, to ensure required genetical and geographical breadth
    (…)
Senior Scientist LysinBacterial vaginosisMolecular BiologyPharmaceutical development

Community Board

May 17, 2019
Seeking temperature-inducible P22 prophage
Name: José R Penadés
Location: Glasgow, UK
Organization: University of Glasgow

Phage community, I need your help! I’m desperate looking for a P22 prophage that is inducible by temperature (P22 ts c2 29). It was published more than 50 years ago. If you know somebody that could have it, please, contact me at [email protected]! If not, please pass it on! It is really important! Thanks!

(Check out his twitter thread (@jrpenades) to see responses so far, or to add yours!)

Phage Request ProphageSalmonella

Phage banks around the world

Jessica Sacher, PhD
LinkedIn | Twitter

Where in the world can you buy a phage? This week, we’re profiling five phage banks: one in Canada, one in Germany, one in the USA, one in South Korea, and one in the UK.

Many requests for phages and publicly-accessible phage banks

We commonly hear of requests for phages, either via Twitter, email, or via in-person conversations with members of the phage community. It is becoming apparent that there is a growing need for central phage banks, distributed around the world, that are actively used to both archive and improve access to phages for research and applications.

We’d love to hear from you!

(Please email responses to [email protected])

  1. Have you ever purchased a phage? Where did you get it, and what was your experience?
  2. Have you ever deposited a phage into a bank or repository?
  3. If you answered no to either of these, what would it take for you to do so?

Profiling phage banks

In response to this frequently-expressed request, we set out to start by profiling five phage banks we know of that currently support ordering and/or depositing of phages.

In addition to the ones profiled here, there are many private phage collections of varying sizes that may share phages for research and applications, and even other commercial ones that sell them. In the future, we hope to bring visibility to all of these collections.

Help us add to this guide!

The information about all the banks listed here has been obtained from the organizations’ websites. If you know of other phage banks, or if you represent any of these banks and would like to provide updated information, please send me an email at [email protected]. We plan to host this phage bank guide on Phage Directory in the near future.

The Felix d’Hérelle Reference Center for Bacterial Viruses

Location: Laval, Quebec, Canada

Type: Phage Collection

Run by: Dr. Sylvain Moineau, Canada Research Chair at the Université Laval, and Denise Tremblay

Aim: To collect, conserve and distribute reference phages and information about them to foster research and education.

History: Founded in 1982 by the late Prof. Hans W. Ackermann, who ran the Center until he retired. Since 2003, Sylvain Moineau has curated the collection, with Denise Tremblay taking care of day-to-day operations.

Funding: NSERC, one of Canada’s primary scientific research funding bodies, funded the Center until 2012. It is now funded by the Université Laval, its Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Bioinformatics, and Oplait

Available phages: > 400 phages targeting a large diversity of strains (phages of historical, geographical, taxonomic, agricultural, medical, veterinary or industrial significance)

Approximate cost of ordering a phage: ~ 300 CAD, plus shipping.

Ships internationally? Yes

Supports depositing phages? Yes

Other services: Also serves as a host bank, provides research services, such as electron microscopy of phages, phage genome analysis, and screening of strains for lysogeny.

Leibniz Institute—DSMZ (German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures)

Location: Braunschweig, Germany

Type: Culture collection with a phage component

Phage collection run by: Dr. Christine Rohde and Dr. Johannes Wittmann.

Aim: To expand the repertoire of phages for biodiversity research and applications (including therapy). Besides enlarging the phage diversity for as many bacterial phyla as possible, the DSMZ focuses on the collection of phages against pathogens.

History: Founded in 1969 as the national centre for culture collection in Germany. Now an independent institution.

Funding: German Ministry for Science and Technology, fees from sales and services

Available phages: ~ 300 phages, spanning many hosts

Approximate cost of ordering a phage: ~ EUR 125, plus shipping

Ships internationally? Yes

Supports depositing phages: Yes

Other services: Checks host range of phages, examines phage morphology, does bioinformatic analyses, participates in research projects, and partners with other organizations for phage projects.

Bacteriophage Bank of Korea

Location: Yongin, South Korea

Type: Phage Collection

Director: Professor Heejoon Myung, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Aim: To collect and stock bacteriophages and distribute them to academics and industries worldwide.

History: Established in 2010.

Funding: Supported by a fund from Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, Korea.

Available phages: > 1000 phages (and growing), against mainly pathogenic hosts, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Acinetobacter baumanii, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Cronobacter sakazakii, Serratia marsescens, Campylobacter jejuni, and Bacillus cereus.

Approximate cost of a phage: Nominal handling fee (unknown)

Supports depositing phages? Yes

Other services: Phages are provided with information about initial characterization: host bacteria, site of isolation, composition of virion proteins as shown by SDS-PAGE analysis, MALDI-TOF MS analysis of major virion protein(s), and genome size as determined by PFGE analysis.

American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Bacteriophage Collection

Location: Manassas, Virginia, USA

Type: Culture collection with a phage component

Phage collection run by: ATCC, a nonprofit organization

Aim: To acquire, authenticate, preserve, develop, standardize, and distribute biological materials and information for the advancement and application of scientific knowledge.

History: Established in 1925 when a committee of scientists recognized a need for a central collection of microorganisms that would serve scientists all over the world. The early years were spent at the McCormick Institute in Chicago until the organization moved to Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 1937. ATCC moved to its current location in 1998.

Funding: ATCC appears to be self-supported through the revenue it generates.

Available phages: ~ 400 phages spanning various species

Approximate cost of a phage: Varies according to the phage and the distributor: e.g. 300-600 CAD per phage via Cedarlane (Canada)

Ships internationally? Yes, via a large network of international distributors

Supports depositing phages? Yes

Other services: Many services and custom solutions (e.g. authentication, characterization), including research (e.g. improved methods for characterization, long-term preservation)

National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) Bacteriophage Collection

Location: Salisbury, UK

Type: Culture collection with a phage component

Phage collection run by: Public Health England; Contact: [email protected]

Aim: To supply reference strains to support academic, health, food and veterinary institutions, to support accessibility and reproducibility in science.

History: NCTC was founded in 1920, and is the world’s oldest bacterial collection. NCTC also has a fully curated bacteriophage archive, which is currently being characterised using a range of methods including electron microscopy and will be further chacterised using genomic sequencing in the future. It is intended that once characterised and rebanked the collection will be made available worldwide in 2019 to support scientific research.

Funding: Public Health England

Available phages: > 100 phages and their corresponding hosts (including Streptococcus agalactiae, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Campylobacter), which were originally deposited for their value in bacterial typing.

Approx. cost of ordering a phage: Unknown

Ships internationally? Yes

Supports depositing phages: Yes

Other services: Unknown

In summary

We’ve profiled five phage banks that collect and sell phages. All five also support phage depositing from the community, and represent an important resource for phage researchers seeking to archive and/or share their phages, or to expand their own libraries.

In the future, we plan to host this global phage bank guide on Phage Directory, and to add to it over time.

If you know of phage banks/repositories that provide and/or accept phages, please get in touch with us by emailing [email protected]!

Jessica Sacher is a co-founder of Phage Directory and has a Ph.D in Microbiology and Biotechnology

For every issue of Capsid & Tail, we are committed to getting our facts straight, but we’re not experts in the information we’re bringing to you. If you feel that we’ve missed an important viewpoint, or if you have something to add, please reach out to us by emailing [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you, and we’d be happy to revisit topics we’ve covered (ideally with added information and viewpoints from community members like you!).

Lastly, please reach out if you’re interested in writing for us, or have suggestions for future issues!