Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Isolation and characterization of ZZ1, a novel lytic phage that infects Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates

Jing Jin1, Zhen-Jiang Li2, Shu-Wei Wang2, Shan-Mei Wang4, De-Hai Huang2, Ya-Hui Li2, Yun-Yun Ma2, Jin Wang2, Fang Liu3, Xiang-Dong Chen3, Guang-Xing Li1, Xiao-Ting Wang1, Zhong-Quan Wang1* and Guo-Qiang Zhao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathogen Biology, Basic Medical College of Zhengzhou University, Kexue Road # 100, Zhengzhou, 450001, P. R. China

2 Department of Pathogen Biology and Immunology, Henan Medical College for Staff and Workers, Zhengzhou, China

3 State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

4 Clinical Laboratory, Henan Province People’s Hospital, Zhengzhou, China

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:156  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-156

Published: 28 July 2012



Acinetobacter baumannii, a significant nosocomial pathogen, has evolved resistance to almost all conventional antimicrobial drugs. Bacteriophage therapy is a potential alternative treatment for multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. In this study, one lytic bacteriophage, ZZ1, which infects A. baumannii and has a broad host range, was selected for characterization.


Phage ZZ1 and 3 of its natural hosts, A. baumanni clinical isolates AB09V, AB0902, and AB0901, are described in this study. The 3 strains have different sensitivities to ZZ1, but they have the same sensitivity to antibiotics. They are resistant to almost all of the antibiotics tested, except for polymyxin. Several aspects of the life cycle of ZZ1 were investigated using the sensitive strain AB09V under optimal growth conditions. ZZ1 is highly infectious with a short latent period (9 min) and a large burst size (200 PFU/cell). It exhibited the most powerful antibacterial activity at temperatures ranging from 35°C to 39°C. Moreover, when ZZ1 alone was incubated at different pHs and different temperatures, the phage was stable over a wide pH range (4 to 9) and at extreme temperatures (between 50°C and 60°C). ZZ1 possesses a 100-nm icosahedral head containing double-stranded DNA with a total length of 166,682 bp and a 120-nm long contractile tail. Morphologically, it could be classified as a member of the Myoviridae family and the Caudovirales order. Bioinformatic analysis of the phage whole genome sequence further suggested that ZZ1 was more likely to be a new member of the Myoviridae phages. Most of the predicted ORFs of the phage were similar to the predicted ORFs from other Acinetobacter phages.


The phage ZZ1 has a relatively broad lytic spectrum, high pH stability, strong heat resistance, and efficient antibacterial potential at body temperature. These characteristics greatly increase the utility of this phage as an antibacterial agent; thus, it should be further investigated.

Acinetobacter baumannii ; Bacteriophage; Characterization