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Antibiotics 2018, 7(4), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics7040101

Fighting Fire with Fire: Phage Potential for the Treatment of E. coli O157 Infection

1
Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
EpiBiome, Inc., 29528 Union City blvd, Union City, CA 94587, USA
3
Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
The author contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 16 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophages: Alternatives to Antibiotics and Beyond)
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Abstract

Hemolytic–uremic syndrome is a life-threating disease most often associated with Shiga toxin-producing microorganisms like Escherichia coli (STEC), including E. coli O157:H7. Shiga toxin is encoded by resident prophages present within this bacterium, and both its production and release depend on the induction of Shiga toxin-encoding prophages. Consequently, treatment of STEC infections tend to be largely supportive rather than antibacterial, in part due to concerns about exacerbating such prophage induction. Here we explore STEC O157:H7 prophage induction in vitro as it pertains to phage therapy—the application of bacteriophages as antibacterial agents to treat bacterial infections—to curtail prophage induction events, while also reducing STEC O157:H7 presence. We observed that cultures treated with strictly lytic phages, despite being lysed, produce substantially fewer Shiga toxin-encoding temperate-phage virions than untreated STEC controls. We therefore suggest that phage therapy could have utility as a prophylactic treatment of individuals suspected of having been recently exposed to STEC, especially if prophage induction and by extension Shiga toxin production is not exacerbated. View Full-Text
Keywords: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria; bacteriophage therapy; phage therapy; lysogenic conversion; prophage induction; read recruitment; shiga toxin Antibiotic-resistant bacteria; bacteriophage therapy; phage therapy; lysogenic conversion; prophage induction; read recruitment; shiga toxin
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Howard-Varona, C.; Vik, D.R.; Solonenko, N.E.; Li, Y.-F.; Gazitua, M.C.; Chittick, L.; Samiec, J.K.; Jensen, A.E.; Anderson, P.; Howard-Varona, A.; Kinkhabwala, A.A.; Abedon, S.T.; Sullivan, M.B. Fighting Fire with Fire: Phage Potential for the Treatment of E. coli O157 Infection. Antibiotics 2018, 7, 101.

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