Image_2_Characterization of a lytic Escherichia coli phage CE1 and its potential use in therapy against avian pathogenic Escherichia coli infections.JPEG
The high incidence of Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) in poultry has resulted in significant economic losses. It has become necessary to find alternatives to antibiotics due to the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance. Phage therapy has shown promising results in numerous studies. In the current study, a lytic phage vB_EcoM_CE1 (short for CE1) against Escherichia coli (E. coli) was isolated from broiler feces, showing a relatively wide host range and lysing 56.9% (33/58) of high pathogenic strains of APEC. According to morphological observations and phylogenetic analysis, phage CE1 belongs to the Tequatrovirus genus, Straboviridae family, containing an icosahedral capsid (80 ~ 100 nm in diameter) and a retractable tail (120 nm in length). This phage was stable below 60°C for 1 h over the pH range of 4 to 10. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that phage CE1 contained a linear double-stranded DNA genome spanning 167,955 bp with a GC content of 35.4%. A total of 271 ORFs and 8 tRNAs were identified. There was no evidence of virulence genes, drug-resistance genes, or lysogeny genes in the genome. The in vitro test showed high bactericidal activity of phage CE1 against E. coli at a wide range of MOIs, and good air and water disinfectant properties. Phage CE1 showed perfect protection against broilers challenged with APEC strain in vivo. This study provides some basic information for further research into treating colibacillosis, or killing E. coli in breeding environments.