C&T Round Up for July 2020

Issue 86 | July 31, 2020
6 min read
Capsid and Tail

This week, we’re rounding up an extra helping of July 2020’s phage news and research.

What’s New

Elizabeth Svoboda wrote a Nature Outlook article diving into the current state of phage therapy options for cystic fibrosis patients, and initiatives working to make this a reality. We’re thrilled to see Phage Directory highlighted in this article, alongside other collaborators and colleagues, such as IPATH, Baylor College of Medicine’s TAILOR Labs, the Queen Astrid Military Hospital, Adaptive Phage Therapeutics and more.

Cystic fibrosisNewsPhage Therapy

Christopher Duplessis and Biswajit Biswas (US Naval Medical Research Center) published a new systematic review in Antibiotics on topical phage therapy for chronically infected wounds. They also discuss their preparations for a phase II randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate personalized phage therapy (administered topically and/or intravenously) to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Clinical TrialDiabetic foot ulcersPhage TherapyReview

Legesse Garedew Kifelew (Flinders University, Australia) and colleagues published a new paper in BMC Microbiology showing efficacy of a cGMP-produced phage cocktail in treating diabetic mouse wound infections caused by MRSA. They applied the cocktail topically, and saw a significant decrease in bacterial load and wound size in phage- and vancomycin-treated groups compared with infected saline-treated mice. Paper | News release.

Animal modelPhage TherapyResearch paper

Here’s a streamlined new method for producing phages (and removing endotoxin) for personalized phage therapy, published in Nature Protocols by Tiffany Luong (San Diego State University) and colleagues.

Phage TherapyPhage methods

Some bacteria release colicins to kill competitors by carefully timing lysis for part of their population at a time. But group B colicins don’t come with lysis genes, so how do cells safely release them? Stefanie Spriewald (LMU Munich, Germany) and colleagues published a new paper in MBio showing that colicin release in Salmonella has cleverly evolved to make use of prophage-mediated lysis, which already optimizes for not killing the whole population at once, leading to a stable system of phage-colicin interplay.

Phage-host interactionsResearch paper

Multicopy plasmids contribute to antimicrobial resistance gene transfer, and although many don’t contain mobility genes, they’ve been observed to contain phage fragments. Lorena Rodríguez-Rubio (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain) and colleagues published a new paper in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy showing just how extensively temperate phages can mobilize AMR genes on multicopy plasmids.

Antibiotic resistanceProphageResearch paper

We don’t know much about phages in groundwater reservoirs, even though bacteria in these environments are thought to influence biogeochemical cycles. Ole Hylling (Aarhus University, Denmark) and colleagues published a new paper in Scientific Reports showing isolation of two new phages, each representing a novel genus, from a groundwater reservoir, highlighting how unexplored these environments are from a phage perspective.

New sources of phagesPhage ecologyResearch paper

Only a handful of prophage genomes targeting the phytopathogen Erwinia are available. In a new paper published in Frontiers in Microbiology, Nikita Zrelovs (Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre) and colleagues delved into temperate Erwinia phage diversity, including characterizing a novel Erwinia persicina-infecting phage and identifying around 50 possible new prophages in Erwinia genomes.

Plant pathogensProphageResearch paper

Some phages attach to bacterial flagella, and thus have to withstand high drag and torque. But how? Joshua Hardy, Rhys Dunstan (Monash University, Australia) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Communications that provides new insights into the architecture and stabilisation of flagellotropic phages.

Research paperStructural Biology

The aquaculture industry continues to move toward phage therapy; here’s a recent review published in Antibiotics by Justyna Kowalska (Proteon Pharmaceuticals) colleagues. Read the highlights in this article on The Fish Site.

AquacultureBiotech newsPhage Therapy

Latest Jobs

Phage TherapyResearch Associate
Armata Pharmaceuticals (a clinical-stage phage therapy biotech in Marina Del Ray, California) is hiring a research associate.
DairyResearch Technician
The Alcaine Research Group at the Cornell University Dept. of Food Science is hiring a technician to study the microbial and enzymatic constituents of dairy foods. Responsibilities include bacterial cell culture, phage propagation, and more.
Food safetyResearch Technician
North Carolina State University is hiring a research technician for a food safety project focused on antimicrobial resistance, phage resistance and phage biocontrol.
Phage geneticsResearch Technician
Texas A&M is hiring a technician for a research project involving phage genetics.

Community Board

Anyone can post a message to the phage community — and it could be anything from collaboration requests, post-doc searches, sequencing help — just ask!

Seeking collaboration

Martin Inyimili

I have been working on phages from 2018. I now have several phages which I need to extract their DNA and sequence on the nanopore sequencer. Can someone help me on how to do this especially sequencing several samples at once. Please contact me on Twitter or email [email protected] if you can help.

Genome sequencingSeeking collaborator

PHAVES 4 is happening on Tuesday!

Phage Directory

Our next PHAVES event will take place Aug. 4 at 11:00 AM EST / 8:30 PM IST. We’ll be interviewing Pranav Johri and Apurva Virmani Johri, founders of Vitalis Phage Therapy, about their impressive progress improving access to phage therapy in India.

Register for PHAVES (as an attendee or a future speaker!) at https://seminars.phage.directory.

Phage TherapyVirtual Event

Huge thanks to our new (and not-so-new) volunteers!

Phage Directory

We’d like to give a shout-out to our new volunteers, M. R. Madhav (phage protocols curator for our future phage protocol compendium — contribute yours on Slack!), Curtis Hoffmann (Twitter and LinkedIn), and Lizzie Richardson (Capsid & Tail feature editing). We’re so excited to have you on board!

Thanks also to our not-so-new volunteers, Rohit Kongari (Capsid & Tail link collecting) and Stephanie Lynch (PHAVES organizing)! Thanks to you, we’ve been able to keep expanding into new areas while keeping our ongoing community projects rolling!


Funding opportunity: plant pathogen treatment

Innovative Solutions Canada

Innovative Solutions Canada is looking to fund small businesses developing phytosanitary treatment options to control plant pests. Maybe a job for phages?

Funding opportunityPlant pathogens

C&T Round Up for July 2020

Profile Image
Phage microbiologist and co-founder of Phage Directory
Phage Directory, Atlanta, GA, United States

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

For Phage Directory, she takes care of the science, writing, communications, and business aspects.

In place of a feature article this week, we’re highlighting the three Capsid & Tail feature articles we published this month. Be sure to check them out if you missed them, and let us know if you have thoughts, comments or questions! Reach us anytime by email or Slack!

Rohit Kongari helped us produce this week’s article by helping us source articles for the What’s New section. Thanks Rohit!!

Capsid & Tail

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