6 thoughts on “P67 – Kurse

  1. What is already known about research on bacteriophages and how did your findings contribute?

    1. So far, we mainly understand the life cycles of bacteriophages and the impacts on plaque morphology and host cell physiology. The evolutionary relationships (clustering and subclustering) between bacteriophages can be determined based on procedures such as restriction digests and PCR. Unfortunately, we were not able to characterize and classify our phage beyond figuring out that it was lytic. Our phage, however, may be useful in phage therapies due to its ability to infect and lyse bacteria with high specificity. Since M. smeg, the host bacterium, is closely related to the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis and leprosy, perhaps our phage can be useful against it. This has low probability, but it’s cool to contemplate.

      While our overall contribution is pretty small, at the very least, we have isolated a unique phage to add to the every growing library of phages. So I suppose that might be a contribution?

  2. Hello! Very interesting presentation. What type of applications in medicine do you think this phage could have? I am curious what types of phage therapy might be applicable to this type of phage.

    1. Thank you! Since our phage was determined to be lytic, it or its protein products (namely lysins, which destroy the cell wall so new phages can emerge and start the cycle all over again) could be used to attack species of bacteria closely related to the host our phage infected. Our phage infected M. smegmatis, which is closely related to the bacteria species causing tuberculosis and leprosy- as such, maybe our phage will have applications against these? You’ve probably already taken this class, but here is an interesting article about an example of a successful phage therapy.

      Also, phage therapy is quite specific: essentially, it can attack a specific host without killing other bacteria, such as those of the gut microbiome. Maybe if somebody has a fragile gut microbiome, such a treatment might be beneficial as well. As we learn more about the importance and role of the many bacterial microbiomes in the body, perhaps phage therapy will become a more viable option than antibiotics, which destroy all bacteria indiscriminately.

      Also, it is far too early to say at this point, but with genetic engineering and greater understanding of the chemical interactions between host cells and viruses, perhaps we can even tailor such phages to attack species outside of those closely related to M. smegmatis. Again, this is quite far out, but it’s food for thought.

  3. What are the chances this will work in the future? Like phage genomic research, your findings in particular.

    1. Our phage is not a viable candidate for further genomic research in terms of sequencing, as we were unable to determine the titer, and our DNA sample may not have been viable for restriction digestion and PCR. I don’t think anybody can pick up where we left off, so the chances of this working in the future seem slim.
      Chances of this working in phage therapy applications are slim, as its therapeutic potential is indeterminate and will remain so, for the reasons above.

Leave a Reply