Data_Sheet_4_Evaluating Phage Tail Fiber Receptor-Binding Proteins Using a Luminescent Flow-Through 96-Well Plate Assay.PDF (173.59 kB)
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Data_Sheet_4_Evaluating Phage Tail Fiber Receptor-Binding Proteins Using a Luminescent Flow-Through 96-Well Plate Assay.PDF

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posted on 2021-12-17, 08:59 authored by Emma L. Farquharson, Ashlyn Lightbown, Elsi Pulkkinen, Téa Russell, Brenda Werner, Sam R. Nugen

Phages have demonstrated significant potential as therapeutics in bacterial disease control and as diagnostics due to their targeted bacterial host range. Host range has typically been defined by plaque assays; an important technique for therapeutic development that relies on the ability of a phage to form a plaque upon a lawn of monoculture bacteria. Plaque assays cannot be used to evaluate a phage’s ability to recognize and adsorb to a bacterial strain of interest if the infection process is thwarted post-adsorption or is temporally delayed, and it cannot highlight which phages have the strongest adsorption characteristics. Other techniques, such as classic adsorption assays, are required to define a phage’s “adsorptive host range.” The issue shared amongst all adsorption assays, however, is that they rely on the use of a complete bacteriophage and thus inherently describe when all adsorption-specific machinery is working together to facilitate bacterial surface adsorption. These techniques cannot be used to examine individual interactions between a singular set of a phage’s adsorptive machinery (like long tail fibers, short tail fibers, tail spikes, etc.) and that protein’s targeted bacterial surface receptor. To address this gap in knowledge we have developed a high-throughput, filtration-based, bacterial binding assay that can evaluate the adsorptive capability of an individual set of a phage’s adsorption machinery. In this manuscript, we used a fusion protein comprised of an N-terminal bioluminescent tag translationally fused to T4’s long tail fiber binding tip (gp37) to evaluate and quantify gp37’s relative adsorptive strength against the Escherichia coli reference collection (ECOR) panel of 72 Escherichia coli isolates. Gp37 could adsorb to 61 of the 72 ECOR strains (85%) but coliphage T4 only formed plaques on 8 of the 72 strains (11%). Overlaying these two datasets, we were able to identify ECOR strains incompatible with T4 due to failed adsorption, and strains T4 can adsorb to but is thwarted in replication at a step post-adsorption. While this manuscript only demonstrates our assay’s ability to characterize adsorptive capabilities of phage tail fibers, our assay could feasibly be modified to evaluate other adsorption-specific phage proteins.