Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. They are often highly selective, as they infect only a specific subset of bacterial species or a subset of strains within a bacterial species. Bacteriophages are key shapers of microbial networks in the environment, they alter bacterial strain diversity and drive bacterial evolution. Phages can also infect and kill important human pathogens and thereby have the potential to be used as natural antibiotics. Interest in using bacteriophages to eliminate bacterial infections has increased in response to the rise of antibiotic resistant infections. Bacteriophages also influence general symbiotic interactions between bacteria and host organisms. Bacteriophage infections may decrease symbiont populations in host cells or may endow new functions to the symbiont via the alteration of bacterial genomes through bacteriophage mediated transduction. Our goal for this study was to identify bacteriophages specific to Burkholderia symbionts of Dictyostelium and test their impact on this symbiotic association. The social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum is a common soil inhabitant that predatorizes bacteria, engulfing them via phagocytosis. Many D. discoideum isolates have been shown to be stably infected with bacteria belonging to the Burkholderia genera. Burkholderia infections in amoebae can influence host fitness and alter their interactions with other bacteria. Here, we isolated several bacteriophages specific to Burkholderia symbiont strains, characterized them, and examined the ability of a specific phage to reduce Burkholderia infections in Dictyostelium. Our phage isolates each displayed a unique host range and plaque morphology and appear to be myoviridae based on electron microscopy. Only one phage isolate appeared to be purely lytic based on plaque morphology, while our other isolates generated turbid plaques and were therefor considered to be temperate. Exposing Burkholderia infected amoebae to our most efficient phage isolate (Bonzo8) significantly reduced, but did not eliminate, Burkholderia prevalence.
|Commitee:||Luesse, Darron, Williams, Jake|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 82/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Microbiology, Molecular biology, Virology|
|Keywords:||Bacteriophage, Host-pathogen, Symbiosis|
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