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10 thoughts on “P41 – Wilcox”
Hi Solomon, great job! Because your bacteriophage expressed both lysogenic and lytic behavior, how do you think this impacts how you move forward with both identifying it and utilizing it in therapeutic methods?
Thank you Claire! We believe that the different lifecycles are actually the same species of phage undergoing different stages of their lifecycle. This is because we purified our sample multiple times in order to only study one species of phage. In this case, all of the phages are assumed to be originally lysogenic, but some are undergoing lysis in response to our changing of their environmental conditions through further experiments. Typically only lytic phages would be used for therapy, but genome sequencing would be the next step in determining its potential for use.
Great presentation! Everything was clear and easy to understand! How would the phage you experimented with be applied to antibiotic resistance? Have your results given you any idea on if they could be used?
Thank you Miles! Our phage was found to be lyosgenic, which means it likely would not be used for therapeutic purposes. However in the case that it were lytic, the phage genome would need to be sequenced and added to the HHMI database. Researchers would then search the database for phages that code for the binding of cell-surface receptors that would successfully infect the bacteria in question. Our results thus far have allowed us to hypothesize as to the cluster our phage belongs to. Phages within the same cluster tend to have a similar host range, meaning that they code for the infection of a similar grouping of bacteria. Genome sequencing would be the only way to confirm our hypothesis.
Great Presentation! I was wondering how bacteriophage are able to infect bacteria, do they have specific properties that allow them to bind to and infect a bacterial cell? Additionally, why do you think you gel was so smeared in all the lanes and how would PCR amplification give you more information on you phage?
Thank you Ben! Phages are able to infect certain bacteria based on the cell-surface receptors that it can recognize and bind to. This varies by the cluster, or the grouping of similar phages as well as the genes that each phage encodes. So in the case of therapeutic use, a database is searched for phages that can recognize and inject into the given bacteria. In terms of the smearing in the restriction digest, we believe this was due to degradation of the phage DNA. In the case of HaeIII however, the streak was much more pronounced which indicated cutting of the genome into small fragments. PCR amplification of the fragments would allow us to consult the Phage Enzyme Tools software and strengthen our hypothesis as to which cluster our phage belongs to. This is because the enzymes cut at defined sequences within the genome, the similarities of which indicate genetic homology among phages.
Great Presentation! I was wondering how a phage infects a bacterial cell, is there a specific protein or binding domain that the phage uses to infect and inject its DNA? Additionally, why do you think your gel was so smeared in all of the lanes and did this impact your results? Finally, why would PCR give more information about your phage?
Sorry, accidentally posted my comment twice, my bad.
Hi! Wonderful presentation, everything was clear and easy to understand. I was interested in seeing a much different experiment than what I have been testing. That being said, how do these bacteriophages would help with the development of new antibiotics?
Thank you Courtney! The purpose of these experiments is simply to expand the database of known phages. As each phage contains a unique combinations of genes and is able to infect specific bacteria, this is important for finding alternatives to antibiotic use in medicine. In cases that antibiotic don’t work against a bacterial infection, the phage database is consulted in order to find a combination of species that will infect the bacteria and hopefully fight the infection.