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Special Issue "Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Heather E. Allison

Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: the molecular mechanisms that control various aspects of microbial interactions with their environment including the interaction of lambdoid bacteriophages with their bacterial host; the use of metagenomic techniques to identify and characterise novel cellulolytic microbial taxa and the cellulases they produce from land fill and fresh water environments
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David Prangishvili

Head of the research group "Viruses of Archaea", Department of Microbiology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: diversity of archaeal viruses: virion structures, genome organisation, structure and function of viral proteins; molecular aspects of virus host interactions in Archaea; biotechnological applications of archaeal viruses and their proteins
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ruth-Anne Sandaa

University of Bergen, Department of Biological Sciences, Bergen, Norway
Website | E-Mail
Interests: community dynamics and diversity of viruses infecting photosynthetic organisms like Cyanobacteria (cyanophages) and Phytoplankton (algal viruses); viral-host interactions of cyanophages and algal viruses in the marine environment
Guest Editor
Dr. Dann Turner

Department of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: bacteriophage research; Acinetobacter bacteriophages; bacteriophage genomics; biotechnology; taxonomy; phage-host interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The central theme of this Special Issue will focus on 'Biodiversity and Future Applications' of viruses infecting microbes (algae, archaea, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses). Viruses have always been a key element of microbial diversity and evolution, as well as a tool for a molecular biologist to learn more about how the host-cell functions. This information has also been put to productive use in recent days to control infections and fouling in many areas in our society.

The issue gathers articles covering key areas of ecology, host-virus dynamics, biotechnological, medical aspects, and structural biology. A main objective is to introduce a new understanding of the role that viruses of microbes play in ecosystems and in the sustainable development of human technologies.

Dr. Heather E. Allison
Prof. Dr. David Prangishvili
Prof. Dr. Ruth-Anne Sandaa
Dr. Dann Turner
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bacteriophages
  • archaeal viruses
  • cyanophages
  • algal and fungi viruses
  • viral-host interactions
  • structure and function of viral proteins
  • biotechnological applications

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Seasonality Drives Microbial Community Structure, Shaping both Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Host–Viral Relationships in an Arctic Marine Ecosystem
Viruses 2018, 10(12), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10120715
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract
The Arctic marine environment experiences dramatic seasonal changes in light and nutrient availability. To investigate the influence of seasonality on Arctic marine virus communities, five research cruises to the west and north of Svalbard were conducted across one calendar year, collecting water from
[...] Read more.
The Arctic marine environment experiences dramatic seasonal changes in light and nutrient availability. To investigate the influence of seasonality on Arctic marine virus communities, five research cruises to the west and north of Svalbard were conducted across one calendar year, collecting water from the surface to 1000 m in depth. We employed metabarcoding analysis of major capsid protein g23 and mcp genes in order to investigate T4-like myoviruses and large dsDNA viruses infecting prokaryotic and eukaryotic picophytoplankton, respectively. Microbial abundances were assessed using flow cytometry. Metabarcoding results demonstrated that seasonality was the key mediator shaping virus communities, whereas depth exerted a diversifying effect within seasonal virus assemblages. Viral diversity and virus-to-prokaryote ratios (VPRs) dropped sharply at the commencement of the spring bloom but increased across the season, ultimately achieving the highest levels during the winter season. These findings suggest that viral lysis may be an important process during the polar winter, when productivity is low. Furthermore, winter viral communities consisted of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) distinct from those present during the spring-summer season. Our data provided a first insight into the diversity of viruses in a hitherto undescribed marine habitat characterized by extremes in light and productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Dual Receptor Binding Protein Systems in Lactococcal 936 Group Phages
Viruses 2018, 10(12), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10120668
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
Siphoviridae of the lactococcal 936 group are the most commonly encountered bacteriophages in the dairy processing environment. The 936 group phages possess a discrete baseplate at the tip of their tail—a complex harbouring the Receptor Binding Protein (RBP) which is responsible for host
[...] Read more.
Siphoviridae of the lactococcal 936 group are the most commonly encountered bacteriophages in the dairy processing environment. The 936 group phages possess a discrete baseplate at the tip of their tail—a complex harbouring the Receptor Binding Protein (RBP) which is responsible for host recognition and attachment. The baseplate-encoding region is highly conserved amongst 936 phages, with 112 of 115 publicly available phages exhibiting complete synteny. Here, we detail the three exceptions (Phi4.2, Phi4R15L, and Phi4R16L), which differ from this genomic architecture in possessing an apparent second RBP-encoding gene upstream of the “classical” rbp gene. The newly identified RBP possesses an elongated neck region relative to currently defined 936 phage RBPs and is genetically distinct from defined 936 group RBPs. Through detailed characterisation of the representative phage Phi4.2 using a wide range of complementary techniques, we demonstrated that the above-mentioned three phages possess a complex and atypical baseplate structure. Furthermore, the presence of both RBPs in the tail tip of the mature virion was confirmed, while the anticipated host-binding capabilities of both proteins were also verified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Genomic Analysis of the Recent Viral Isolate vB_BthP-Goe4 Reveals Increased Diversity of φ29-Like Phages
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110624
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
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Abstract
We present the recently isolated virus vB_BthP-Goe4 infecting Bacillus thuringiensis HD1. Morphological investigation via transmission electron microscopy revealed key characteristics of the genus Phi29virus, but with an elongated head resulting in larger virion particles of approximately 50 nm width and 120 nm
[...] Read more.
We present the recently isolated virus vB_BthP-Goe4 infecting Bacillus thuringiensis HD1. Morphological investigation via transmission electron microscopy revealed key characteristics of the genus Phi29virus, but with an elongated head resulting in larger virion particles of approximately 50 nm width and 120 nm height. Genome sequencing and analysis resulted in a linear phage chromosome of approximately 26 kb, harbouring 40 protein-encoding genes and a packaging RNA. Sequence comparison confirmed the relation to the Phi29virus genus and genomes of other related strains. A global average nucleotide identity analysis of all identified φ29-like viruses revealed the formation of several new groups previously not observed. The largest group includes Goe4 and may significantly expand the genus Phi29virus (Salasvirus) or the Picovirinae subfamily. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Staphylococcus aureus Bacteriophage K on Expression of Cytokines and Activation Markers by Human Dendritic Cells In Vitro
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110617
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
A potential concern with bacteriophage (phage) therapeutics is a host-versus-phage response in which the immune system may neutralize or destroy phage particles and thus impair therapeutic efficacy, or a strong inflammatory response to repeated phage exposure might endanger the patient. Current literature is
[...] Read more.
A potential concern with bacteriophage (phage) therapeutics is a host-versus-phage response in which the immune system may neutralize or destroy phage particles and thus impair therapeutic efficacy, or a strong inflammatory response to repeated phage exposure might endanger the patient. Current literature is discrepant with regard to the nature and magnitude of innate and adaptive immune response to phages. The purpose of this work was to study the potential effects of Staphylococcus aureus phage K on the activation of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Since phage K acquired from ATCC was isolated around 90 years ago, we first tested its activity against a panel of 36 diverse S. aureus clinical isolates from military patients and found that it was lytic against 30/36 (83%) of strains. Human monocyte-derived dendritic cells were used to test for an in vitro phage-specific inflammatory response. Repeated experiments demonstrated that phage K had little impact on the expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, or on MHC-I/II and CD80/CD86 protein expression. Given that dendritic cells are potent antigen-presenting cells and messengers between the innate and the adaptive immune systems, our results suggest that phage K does not independently affect cellular immunity or has a very limited impact on it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Genomics and Characterization of the Late Promoter pR’ from Shiga Toxin Prophages in Escherichia coli
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110595
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 27 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes human illness ranging from mild diarrhea to death. The bacteriophage encoded stx genes are located in the late transcription region, downstream of the antiterminator Q. The transcription of the stx genes is directly under the control of
[...] Read more.
Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes human illness ranging from mild diarrhea to death. The bacteriophage encoded stx genes are located in the late transcription region, downstream of the antiterminator Q. The transcription of the stx genes is directly under the control of the late promoter pR’, thus the sequence diversity of the region between Q and stx, here termed the pR’ region, may affect Stx toxin production. Here, we compared the gene structure of the pR’ region and the stx subtypes of nineteen STECs. The sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis suggested that the pR’ region tends to be more heterogeneous than the promoter itself, even if the prophages harbor the same stx subtype. Furthermore, we established and validated transcriptional fusions of the pR’ region to the DsRed reporter gene using mitomycin C (MMC) induction. Finally, these constructs were transformed into native and non-native strains and examined with flow cytometry. The results showed that induction levels changed when pR’ regions were placed under different regulatory systems. Moreover, not every stx gene could be induced in its native host bacteria. In addition to the functional genes, the diversity of the pR’ region plays an important role in determining the level of toxin induction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Pantoea Bacteriophage vB_PagS_Vid5: A Low-Temperature Siphovirus That Harbors a Cluster of Genes Involved in the Biosynthesis of Archaeosine
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110583
Received: 4 September 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract
A novel low-temperature siphovirus, vB_PagS_Vid5 (Vid5), was isolated in Lithuania using Pantoea agglomerans isolate for the phage propagation. The 61,437 bp genome of Vid5 has a G–C content of 48.8% and contains 99 probable protein encoding genes and one gene for
[...] Read more.
A novel low-temperature siphovirus, vB_PagS_Vid5 (Vid5), was isolated in Lithuania using Pantoea agglomerans isolate for the phage propagation. The 61,437 bp genome of Vid5 has a G–C content of 48.8% and contains 99 probable protein encoding genes and one gene for tRNASer. A comparative sequence analysis revealed that 46 out of 99 Vid5 open reading frames (ORFs) code for unique proteins that have no reliable identity to database entries. In total, 33 Vid5 ORFs were given a putative functional annotation, including those coding for the proteins responsible for virion morphogenesis, phage-host interactions, and DNA metabolism. In addition, a cluster of genes possibly involved in the biosynthesis of 7-deazaguanine derivatives was identified. Notably, one of these genes encodes a putative preQ0/preQ1 transporter, which has never been detected in bacteriophages to date. A proteomic analysis led to the experimental identification of 11 virion proteins, including nine that were predicted by bioinformatics approaches. Based on the phylogenetic analysis, Vid5 cannot be assigned to any genus currently recognized by ICTV, and may represent a new one within the family of Siphoviridae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Controlled Disassembly and Purification of Functional Viral Subassemblies Using Asymmetrical Flow Field-Flow Fractionation (AF4)
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110579
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 17 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
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Abstract
Viruses protect their genomes by enclosing them into protein capsids that sometimes contain lipid bilayers that either reside above or below the protein layer. Controlled dissociation of virions provides important information on virion composition, interactions, and stoichiometry of virion components, as well as
[...] Read more.
Viruses protect their genomes by enclosing them into protein capsids that sometimes contain lipid bilayers that either reside above or below the protein layer. Controlled dissociation of virions provides important information on virion composition, interactions, and stoichiometry of virion components, as well as their possible role in virus life cycles. Dissociation of viruses can be achieved by using various chemicals, enzymatic treatments, and incubation conditions. Asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) is a gentle method where the separation is based on size. Here, we applied AF4 for controlled dissociation of enveloped bacteriophage φ6. Our results indicate that AF4 can be used to assay the efficiency of the dissociation process and to purify functional subviral particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Biodiversity of Streptococcus thermophilus Phages in Global Dairy Fermentations
Viruses 2018, 10(10), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10100577
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
Streptococcus thermophilus strains are among the most widely employed starter cultures in dairy fermentations, second only to those of Lactococcus lactis. The extensive application of this species provides considerable opportunity for the proliferation of its infecting (bacterio)phages. Until recently, dairy streptococcal phages
[...] Read more.
Streptococcus thermophilus strains are among the most widely employed starter cultures in dairy fermentations, second only to those of Lactococcus lactis. The extensive application of this species provides considerable opportunity for the proliferation of its infecting (bacterio)phages. Until recently, dairy streptococcal phages were classified into two groups (cos and pac groups), while more recently, two additional groups have been identified (5093 and 987 groups). This highlights the requirement for consistent monitoring of phage populations in the industry. Here, we report a survey of 35 samples of whey derived from 27 dairy fermentation facilities in ten countries against a panel of S. thermophilus strains. This culminated in the identification of 172 plaque isolates, which were characterized by multiplex PCR, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, and host range profiling. Based on this characterisation, 39 distinct isolates representing all four phage groups were selected for genome sequencing. Genetic diversity was observed among the cos isolates and correlations between receptor binding protein phylogeny and host range were also clear within this phage group. The 987 phages isolated within this study shared high levels of sequence similarity, yet displayed reduced levels of similarity to those identified in previous studies, indicating that they are subject to ongoing genetic diversification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Roles of orf60a and orf61 in Development of Bacteriophages λ and Φ24B
Viruses 2018, 10(10), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10100553
Received: 22 August 2018 / Revised: 6 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
The exo-xis region of lambdoid bacteriophage genomes contains several established and potential genes that are evolutionarily conserved, but not essential for phage propagation under laboratory conditions. Nevertheless, deletion or overexpression of either the whole exo-xis region and important regulatory elements can significantly influence
[...] Read more.
The exo-xis region of lambdoid bacteriophage genomes contains several established and potential genes that are evolutionarily conserved, but not essential for phage propagation under laboratory conditions. Nevertheless, deletion or overexpression of either the whole exo-xis region and important regulatory elements can significantly influence the regulation of phage development. This report defines specific roles for orf60a and orf61 in bacteriophage λ and Φ24B, a specific Shiga toxin-converting phage with clinical relevance. We observed that mutant phages bearing deletions of orf60a and orf61 impaired two central aspects of phage development: the lysis-versus-lysogenization decision and prophage induction. These effects were more pronounced for phage Φ24B than for λ. Surprisingly, adsorption of phage Φ24B on Escherichia coli host cells was less efficient in the absence of either orf60a or orf61. We conclude that these open reading frames (ORFs) play important, but not essential, roles in the regulation of lambdoid phage development. Although phages can propagate without these ORFs in nutrient media, we suggest that they may be involved in the regulatory network, ensuring optimization of phage development under various environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle High Throughput Manufacturing of Bacteriophages Using Continuous Stirred Tank Bioreactors Connected in Series to Ensure Optimum Host Bacteria Physiology for Phage Production
Viruses 2018, 10(10), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10100537
Received: 29 July 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3553 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Future industrial demand for large quantities of bacteriophages e.g., for phage therapy, necessitates the development of scalable Good Manufacturing Practice compliant (cGMP) production platforms. The continuous production of high titres of E coli T3 phages (1011 PFU mL−1) was achieved
[...] Read more.
Future industrial demand for large quantities of bacteriophages e.g., for phage therapy, necessitates the development of scalable Good Manufacturing Practice compliant (cGMP) production platforms. The continuous production of high titres of E coli T3 phages (1011 PFU mL−1) was achieved using two continuous stirred tank bioreactors connected in series, and a third bioreactor was used as a final holding tank operated in semi-batch mode to finish the infection process. The first bioreactor allowed the steady-state propagation of host bacteria using a fully synthetic medium with glucose as the limiting substrate. Host bacterial growth was decoupled from the phage production reactor downstream of it to suppress the production of phage-resistant mutants, thereby allowing stable operation over a period of several days. The novelty of this process is that the manipulation of the host reactor dilution rates (range 0.1–0.6 hr−1) allows control over the physiological state of the bacterial population. This results in bacteria with considerably higher intracellular phage production capability whilst operating at high dilution rates yielding significantly higher overall phage process productivity. Using a pilot-scale chemostat system allowed optimisation of the upstream phage amplification conditions conducive for high intracellular phage production in the host bacteria. The effect of the host reactor dilution rates on the phage burst size, lag time, and adsorption rate were evaluated. The host bacterium physiology was found to influence phage burst size, thereby affecting the productivity of the overall process. Mathematical modelling of the dynamics of the process allowed parameter sensitivity evaluation and provided valuable insights into the factors affecting the phage production process. The approach presented here may be used at an industrial scale to significantly improve process control, increase productivity via process intensification, and reduce process manufacturing costs through process footprint reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Degenerate PCR Primers to Reveal the Diversity of Giant Viruses in Coastal Waters
Viruses 2018, 10(9), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10090496
Received: 11 August 2018 / Revised: 12 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 13 September 2018
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Abstract
“Megaviridae” is a proposed family of giant viruses infecting unicellular eukaryotes. These viruses are ubiquitous in the sea and have impact on marine microbial community structure and dynamics through their lytic infection cycle. However, their diversity and biogeography have been poorly characterized due
[...] Read more.
“Megaviridae” is a proposed family of giant viruses infecting unicellular eukaryotes. These viruses are ubiquitous in the sea and have impact on marine microbial community structure and dynamics through their lytic infection cycle. However, their diversity and biogeography have been poorly characterized due to the scarce detection of Megaviridae sequences in metagenomes, as well as the limitation of reference sequences used to design specific primers for this viral group. Here, we propose a set of 82 degenerated primers (referred to as MEGAPRIMER), targeting DNA polymerase genes (polBs) of Megaviridae. MEGAPRIMER was designed based on 921 Megaviridae polBs from sequenced genomes and metagenomes. By applying this primer set to environmental DNA meta-barcoding of a coastal seawater sample, we report 5595 non-singleton operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of Megaviridae at 97% nucleotide sequence identity. The majority of the OTUs were found to form diverse clades, which were phylogenetically distantly related to known viruses such as Mimivirus. The Megaviridae OTUs detected in this study outnumber the giant virus OTUs identified in previous individual studies by more than an order of magnitude. Hence, MEGAPRIMER represents a useful tool to study the diversity of Megaviridae at the population level in natural environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Wake-Up Call: We Need Phage Therapy Now
Viruses 2018, 10(12), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10120688
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
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Abstract
The rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria has resulted in an increased interest in phage therapy, which historically preceded antibiotic treatment against bacterial infections. To date, there have been no reports of serious adverse events caused by phages. They have been successfully used to cure
[...] Read more.
The rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria has resulted in an increased interest in phage therapy, which historically preceded antibiotic treatment against bacterial infections. To date, there have been no reports of serious adverse events caused by phages. They have been successfully used to cure human diseases in Eastern Europe for many decades. More recently, clinical trials and case reports for a variety of indications have shown promising results. However, major hurdles to the introduction of phage therapy in the Western world are the regulatory and legal frameworks. Present regulations may take a decade or longer to be fulfilled. It is of urgent need to speed up the availability of phage therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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Open AccessReview RNA Phage Biology in a Metagenomic Era
Viruses 2018, 10(7), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10070386
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
The number of novel bacteriophage sequences has expanded significantly as a result of many metagenomic studies of phage populations in diverse environments. Most of these novel sequences bear little or no homology to existing databases (referred to as the “viral dark matter”). Also,
[...] Read more.
The number of novel bacteriophage sequences has expanded significantly as a result of many metagenomic studies of phage populations in diverse environments. Most of these novel sequences bear little or no homology to existing databases (referred to as the “viral dark matter”). Also, these sequences are primarily derived from DNA-encoded bacteriophages (phages) with few RNA phages included. Despite the rapid advancements in high-throughput sequencing, few studies enrich for RNA viruses, i.e., target viral rather than cellular fraction and/or RNA rather than DNA via a reverse transcriptase step, in an attempt to capture the RNA viruses present in a microbial communities. It is timely to compile existing and relevant information about RNA phages to provide an insight into many of their important biological features, which should aid in sequence-based discovery and in their subsequent annotation. Without comprehensive studies, the biological significance of RNA phages has been largely ignored. Future bacteriophage studies should be adapted to ensure they are properly represented in phageomic studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes V: Biodiversity and Future Applications)
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