8 thoughts on “P21 – McDonald

  1. What are the potential applications of O Cluster phages in medicine and are there current examples of antibiotics that utilize this phage variant?

    1. As of right now, there aren’t any great applications for O cluster phages in medicine. Their host range is limited to only the infection of M. smeg and the small plaque size typically seen doesn’t lend itself to great effectivity in phage therapy, either. As far as antibiotics go, these are totally different from phage! Antibiotics are strong medicines/drugs that either kill bacteria or greatly impair their ability to divide. Phages are actually viruses that although are deadly to bacteria, cannot infect eukaryotic cells – making them perfect for use in the human body. We’ve been turning to phage more recently as bacteria are become resistant to our antibiotics through evolution and repeated exposure. Phage have the ability to alter their methods along with bacterial evolution and it is very unlikely for a single bacteria to become resistant to both antibiotics and phage due to their differences.

  2. Could you further discuss the significance of the O cluster and why this grouo is more or less significant in comparison to others?

    1. O cluster is not necessarily more significant than any other cluster of phages except in its rarity. Even subclusters of most other cluster groups have 50+ unique phages identified and sequenced! O cluster has only 21 known members and their oblong capsid morphology is not typically seen in any other type of phage. The significance lies mostly in the fact that O cluster knowledge is mostly uncharted territory.

  3. Great presentation! Are the injection methods for phages in the O cluster well understood? If not, how can results or future directions from this study help us understand these injection methods?

    1. O cluster phages are members of the siphoviridae family, meaning they have hollow, non-contractile tails that taper down to a single fiber used during interactions with the host membrane. Not much else is known specifically about O cluster phages as their method of DNA injection differs from the more frequently studied myoviridae phages. The results of this study are not particularly illuminating, but sequencing MaterialGirl’s genome in the future would act as another line of comparison against known genes and other visualization techniques beside the electron microscope (kills samples) could be used to see injection in action.

  4. Does the fact that MaterialGirl exhibits a lysogenic life cycle have any bearing on its potential use as a phage therapy?

    1. Yes! Temperate phages are those that have the mechanisms to enter the lysogenic lifecycle and prolong lysis of the host. This chance for infection without immediate destruction of the bacteria makes them not great candidates for phage therapy where the goal is bacterial death.

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