Filamentous #bacteriophages are associated with chronic #Pseudomonas #lung #infections and #antibiotic resistance in #cysticfibrosis (Sci Transl Med., abstract)

[Source: Science Translational Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Filamentous bacteriophages are associated with chronic Pseudomonas lung infections and antibiotic resistance in cystic fibrosis

Elizabeth B. Burgener1,*, Johanna M. Sweere2,3, Michelle S. Bach2, Patrick R. Secor4, Naomi Haddock3, Laura K. Jennings4, Rasmus L. Marvig5, Helle Krogh Johansen6,7, Elio Rossi6, Xiou Cao2, Lu Tian8, Laurence Nedelec9, Søren Molin10, Paul L. Bollyky2,3,† and Carlos E. Milla1,†

1 Center for Excellence in Pulmonary Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. 2 Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. 3 Stanford Immunology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. 4 Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA. 5 Center for Genomic Medicine, Rigshospitalet–Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. 6 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark. 7 Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen N, Denmark. 8 Biomedical Data Science Administration and Statistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. 9 Primary Care and Population Health, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. 10 The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.

*Corresponding author. Email:

† Co-senior authors.

Science Translational Medicine  17 Apr 2019: Vol. 11, Issue 488, eaau9748 / DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau9748


Infection-boosting phage

Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is common in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Filamentous bacteriophage (Pf phage) can infect P. aeruginosa and has been shown to contribute to the virulence of infection in animal models. However, whether Pf phage plays a role in the pathogenicity of P. aeruginosa in CF is unknown. Now, Burgener et al. showed that Pf phage was abundantly expressed in sputum samples from two large cohorts of patients with CF. The presence of Pf phage was associated with increased antibiotic resistance and reduced lung function. The results suggest that Pf phage might play a role in the pathogenicity of P. aeruginosa infection in CF.



Filamentous bacteriophage (Pf phage) contribute to the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in animal models, but their relevance to human disease is unclear. We sought to interrogate the prevalence and clinical relevance of Pf phage in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) using sputum samples from two well-characterized patient cohorts. Bacterial genomic analysis in a Danish longitudinal cohort of 34 patients with CF revealed that 26.5% (n = 9) were consistently Pf phage positive. In the second cohort, a prospective cross-sectional cohort of 58 patients with CF at Stanford, sputum qPCR analysis showed that 36.2% (n = 21) of patients were Pf phage positive. In both cohorts, patients positive for Pf phage were older, and in the Stanford CF cohort, patients positive for Pf phage were more likely to have chronic P. aeruginosa infection and had greater declines in pulmonary function during exacerbations than patients negative for Pf phage presence in the sputum. Last, P. aeruginosa strains carrying Pf phage exhibited increased resistance to antipseudomonal antibiotics. Mechanistically, in vitro analysis showed that Pf phage sequesters these same antibiotics, suggesting that this mechanism may thereby contribute to the selection of antibiotic resistance over time. These data provide evidence that Pf phage may contribute to clinical outcomes in P. aeruginosa infection in CF.

Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works

This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License.

Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Cystic fibrosis; Bacteriophages.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum ( in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.