PloS one

Investigation of a Large Collection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Bacteriophages Collected from a Single Environmental Source in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

PMID 26115051


Twenty two distinct bacteriophages were isolated from sewage water from five locations in the city of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire over a two-year period, using a collection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains with diverse genotypes. The phages were characterized by their virulence spectrum on a panel of selected P. aeruginosa strains from cystic fibrosis patients and by whole genome sequencing. Twelve virions representing the observed diversity were visualised by electron microscopy. The combined observations showed that 17 phages, distributed into seven genera, were virulent, and that five phages were related to temperate phages belonging to three genera. Some showed similarity with known phages only at the protein level. The vast majority of the genetic variations among virulent phages from the same genus resulted from seemingly non-random horizontal transfer events, inside a population of P. aeruginosa phages with limited diversity. This suggests the existence of a single environmental reservoir or ecotype in which continuous selection is taking place. In contrast, mostly point mutations were observed among phages potentially capable of lysogenisation. This is the first study of P. aeruginosa phage diversity in an African city and it shows that a large variety of phage species can be recovered in a limited geographical site at least when different bacterial strains are used. The relative temporal and spatial stability of the Abidjan phage population might reflect equilibrium in the microbial community from which they are released.

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