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Authors: Beims, Hannes and Wittmann, Johannes and Bunk, Boyke and Spröer, Cathrin and Rohde, Christine and Günther, Gabi and Rohde, Manfred and von der Ohe, Werner and Steinert, Michael

Paenibacillus larvae is the causative agent of American foulbrood (AFB), the most serious honey bee brood bacterial disease. We isolated and characterized P. larvae-directed bacteriophages and developed criteria for safe phage therapy. Whole-genome analysis of a highly lytic virus of the family Siphoviridae (HB10c2) provided a detailed safety profile and uncovered its lysogenic nature and a putative beta-lactamase-like protein. To rate its antagonistic activity against the pathogens targeted and to specify potentially harmful effects on the bee population and the environment, P. larvae genotypes ERIC I to IV, representatives of the bee gut microbiota, and a broad panel of members of the order Bacillales were analyzed for phage HB10c2-induced lysis. Breeding assays with infected bee larvae revealed that the in vitro phage activity observed was not predictive of the real-life scenario and therapeutic efficacy. On the basis of the disclosed P. larvae-bacteriophage coevolution, we discuss the future prospects of AFB phage therapy. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Journal: Applied and environmental microbiology
DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00804-15
Year: 2015

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