Adaptation of bacteriophages to new hosts through overcoming the interspecific barrier

  • Е. N. Andriychuk Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  • T. A. Kompanets Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  • S. M. Petrenko Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Keywords: lytic activity, effectiveness, passages, titers, clear plaques


Four wild type phage isolates were tested on P. syringae isolated from potato tuber samples collected in the Kiev and Cherkasy regions of Ukraine. The isolated phages formed clear plaques and had a virion size of 2 to 12 nm. Electron microscopy showed that the phages were of similar size and structure and consisted of isometric particles with long tails characteristic of the Podoviridae family. The effectiveness of phage culturing on bacteria different from the original host was also studied on two phytopathogenic strains of Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. рhaseolicola 4013 and P. syringae pv. tabaci 223. However, no stable isolates could be extracted from P. savastanoi pv. phaseolicola as the plages became inactive after a few passages on the bacterial culture. In order to overcome this, the phages were first cultured on P. syringae pv. tabaci before being transferred to P. savastanoi pv. рhaseolicola. The titers obtained were compared with phage titers from the original host bacteria. Thus, it was determined that the changes occuring in phages after their transfer to the Pseudomonas strain 4013 were irreversible. The changes were evaluated by comparing the effectiveness of phage culturing after a cycle of passages on strains 4013 and 223 where the phages were adapted to strain 4013 after being cultured on strain 223. Additionally, the effectiveness of phage culturing on strain 223 was also determined. The change in the effectiveness of phage culturing for the entire phage range suggests the presence of a defensive system in bacteria when the phages were transferred from strain 223 to strain 4013. The irreversibility of the changes occuring in phages was also tested and it was determined that phages 223/4 and 7591/2 adapt to original hosts and swiftly restore their original titers. Phage 7591/1, however, showed titers that were lower than the ones obtained from the original host culture. The testing of the irreversibility of changes in phages after culturing on P. savastanoi pv. phaseolicola was then tested and the results showed that three phage isolates adapted to their original hosts quickly, but not isolate 7591/1. A possible explanation in this case could be a gradual adaptation of the phages to bacteria through a large number of reproductive cycles. 


Abedon, S.T., 2009. Phage evolution and ecology. Adv. Appl. Microbiol. 67, 1–45. >>
Ackermann, H.-W., 1998.Tailed bacteriophages: The order caudovirales. Adv. Virus Res. 51, 135–201. >>
Adams, M., 1961. Bakteriofagi [Bacteriophage]. Medgiz, Moscow (in Russian).
Arber, W., Dussoix, D., 1962. Host specificity of DNA produced by Escherichia coli. I. Host controlled modification of bacteriophage lambda. J. Mol. Biol. 5, 18–36.
Ashelford, K.E., Day, M.J., Fry, J.C., 2003. Elevated abundance of bacteriophage infecting bacteria in soil. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69, 285–289. >>
Bohannan, B.J.M., Lenski, R.E., 2000. Linking genetic change to community evolution: Insights from studies of bacteria and bacteriophage. Ecol. Lett. 3, 362–377. >>
Budzanivska, I.H., 2009. Diahnostyka virusnykh infektsii [Diagnosis of viral infections]. Ukrainskyi Fitosotsiolohichnyi Tsentr, Kyiv (in Ukrainian).
Chibani-Chennoufi, S., Bruttin, A., Dillmann, M.-L., Brüssow, H., 2004. Phage-host interaction. An Ecological Perspective Journal of Bacteriology 186(12), 3677–3686. >>
Davison, A.J., Benko, M., Harrach, B., 2003. Genetic content and evolution of adenoviruses. J. Gen. Virol. 84, 2895–2908. >>
Gómez, P., Bennie, J., Gaston, K.J., Buckling, A., 2015. The impact of resource availability on bacterial resistance to phages in soil. PLoS ONE 10(4), 56. >>
Harcombe, W.R., Bull, J.J., 2005. Impact of phages on two-species bacterial communities. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71(9), 5254–5259. >>
Hennes, K.P., Suttle, C.A., Chan, A.M., 1995. Fluorescently labeled virus probes show that natural virus populations can control the structure of marine microbial communities. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61, 3623–3627.
Luria, S.E., Human, M.L., 1952. A nonhereditary, host-induced variation of bacterial viruses. J. Bacteriol. 64(4), 557–569.
Semchuk, L.I., Romashev, S.A., 2013. Vlijanie smeny hozjaina na fagi 223-17 i 7591-14 Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. tabaci [Effect of host change on phages 223-17 and 7591-14 Pseudomonas savastanoi pv. tabaci]. Mikrobiolohichnyi Zhurnal 75(3), 74–80 (in Russian).
Semchuk, L.I., Tokarchuk, L.V., Samojlenko, V.I., 1988. Metody poluchenija, koncentracii i ochistki bakteriofagov, porazhajushhih fitopatogennye bakterii roda Pseudomonas [Methods of obtaining, concentration and purification of bacteriophages infecting phytopathogenic bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas]. Probl. Obshh. Molekul. Biol. 16, 38–41 (in Russian).
Sulakvelidze, A., Alavidze, Z., Morris, G., 2001. Bacteriophage therapy. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 45(3), 649–659. >>
Vos, M., Birkett, P.J., Birch, E., Griffiths, R.I., Buckling, A., 2009. Local adaptation of bacteriophages to their bacterial hosts in soil. Science 325, 833. >>
Wommack, K.E., 2000. Virioplankton: Viruses in aquatic ecosystems. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 64, 69–114. >>

Most read articles by the same author(s)