Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Microbiology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

φX216, a P2-like bacteriophage with broad Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei strain infectivity

Brian H Kvitko1, Christopher R Cox2, David DeShazer3, Shannon L Johnson4, Kent J Voorhees2 and Herbert P Schweizer1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, IDRC at Foothills Campus, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-0922, USA

2 Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, USA

3 United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD, USA

4 Los Alamos National Laboratory Genome Science Group, Joint Genomics Institute, Los Alamos, NM, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:289  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-289

Published: 7 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei are closely related Category B Select Agents of bioterrorism and the causative agents of the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Rapid phage-based diagnostic tools would greatly benefit early recognition and treatment of these diseases. There is extensive strain-to-strain variation in B. pseudomallei genome content due in part to the presence or absence of integrated prophages. Several phages have previously been isolated from B. pseudomallei lysogens, for example φK96243, φ1026b and φ52237.

Results

We have isolated a P2-like bacteriophage, φX216, which infects 78% of all B. pseudomallei strains tested. φX216 also infects B. mallei, but not other Burkholderia species, including the closely related B. thailandensis and B. oklahomensis. The nature of the φX216 host receptor remains unclear but evidence indicates that in B. mallei φX216 uses lipopolysaccharide O-antigen but a different receptor in B. pseudomallei. The 37,637 bp genome of φX216 encodes 47 predicted open reading frames and shares 99.8% pairwise identity and an identical strain host range with bacteriophage φ52237. Closely related P2-like prophages appear to be widely distributed among B. pseudomallei strains but both φX216 and φ52237 readily infect prophage carrying strains.

Conclusions

The broad strain infectivity and high specificity for B. pseudomallei and B. mallei indicate that φX216 will provide a good platform for the development of phage-based diagnostics for these bacteria.

Keywords:
Bacteriophage; Burkholderia pseudomallei; B. mallei; P2; Prophage distribution; Phage-based diagnostics