Jeroen Wagemans (KU Leuven) and colleagues published a structural analysis of a jumbo avian pathogenic E. coli-targeting phage with an inner body rod within the capsid and an unusually hairy tail. Check out the paper, which examines the phage’s structure with cryo-EM and the accompanying blog post, written by Rob Lavigne.
Benjamin Adler (UC Berkeley) and colleagues published a new preprint describing their application of their recently-developed high-throughput phage-host interaction discovery method to Salmonella phages. This gave them a highly resolved view of LPS requirements and receptors for diverse phages, and a better understanding of resistance determinants (including metabolic requirements, ion flow, and more).
Ward Deboutte (KU Leuven) and colleagues have published their work on the diversity of the honey-bee phageome in PNAS. This study not only sheds light on the bee microbiome, but highlights the potential consequences of phage-host interactions on bee health.
Ningyun Zhou (University of Oklahoma) and colleagues have developed a new phage-based platform that can rapidly catalyze the growth of neural cells. Paper | Press release, with explainer video.
Phages went to space, and now they’re back! In a blog post, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Rhodium Scientific describe their study of phage-host interactions and evolution in microgravity (using the spaceflight environment) vs. Earth. The study was sponsored by the International Space Station National Lab, which (literally) launched in February on SpaceX CRS-20, and returned to Earth last week.
A new phage-based skincare product has been released! Wild Resilience Active Phage Serum, made by California biotech company Ellis Day Skin Science, contains a blend of two phages (called ‘Cutiphage’). This is the company’s first product. Read about the backstory here and order some for yourself here.
OmniLytics, a US biotech company developing phage-based products for crops (a subsidiary of PhageLux AgriHealth) has entered a new partnership with DCM, one of Europe’s leading plant care companies. DCM will sell Omnilytics’ phage products and will work with Omnilytics to develop new ones. OmniLytics has also entered a similar partnership with Agrikem, a biopesticide pioneer in Turkey.
Want to mine prophage regions from large metagenomic datasets? Phigaro is a command-line application created by Elizaveta Starikova (Federal Research and Clinical Centre of Physical-Chemical Medicine, Russia) and colleagues. It detects prophage regions, makes prophage genome maps, and marks possible transposon insertion spots. Paper | Github.
Join us in congratulating Dr. Graham Hatfull, Eberly Family Professor of Biotechnology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and the pioneer behind SEA-PHAGES, for being elected as a 2020 member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Due to the continued uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the 2020 Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting has been cancelled. The meeting will be held next year, August 9-13, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Normally presented at the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting, the 2020 Nat L. Sternberg Thesis Prize will still be awarded this year. The award acknowledges young scientists with skill, insight, rigor, and dedication to science. The nomination deadline is June 1, 2020, and nominees must have defended their PhD thesis within the year prior. Winners will present their research at the 2021 meeting.
A special issue of the journal Viruses dedicated to “Phage-Bacteria Interplay in Health and Disease” is inviting manuscripts reporting or reviewing current findings on the role of phages in the microbiome, from the context of health and disease.