Edited by Dr Hugo Oliveira and Dr Joana Azeredo.
This article collection, published in Virology Journal, is intended to give new insights to the current knowledge of bacteriophage ecology and genome evolution, a topic that has gained a renewed interest with the increased capacity to investigate the composition and dynamics of microbial communities that colonize diverse habitats, due to the advance of high-throughput sequencing technologies.
Bacteriophages, or simply phages, are viruses that exclusively infect and kill bacteria. Although being very simple in composition and replication, they are the most abundant biological entities on earth, are extremely dynamic and highly genetically diverse and have extreme natural adaptability. Moreover, phages contribute to maintenance of ecological balance and evolution of bacterial species, since they constitute major vehicles for horizontal gene transfer and encode numerous virulence and fitness factors that provide the hosts with novel virulence properties. Because of that, phages help shaping complex microbial populations and their evolution is closely related with complex ecologic phenomena driven by natural competition and by adaptation of phages (and hosts) to new environments.
Thus, this special issue will try to 1) elucidate phage-host interactions with significant impact on the clinical and environmental area; 2) understand how such particular interactions might affect the evolution of phage populations and 3) identify new phage species (and their genomes) that target unusual hosts of diverse environments.
Specifically original works and reviews focusing on phage population and community ecology, phage-host interaction, and integrated genomics and post-genomics approaches in microbial ecology are welcome.
View all collections in Virology Journal.