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The rapid increase in the number of worldwide human infections caused by the extremely antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is cause for concern. An alternative treatment solution in the post-antibiotic era is phage therapy, the use of bacteriophages to selectively kill bacterial pathogens. In this study, the novel bacteriophage AXL3 (vB_SmaS-AXL_3) was isolated from soil and characterized. Host range analysis using a panel of 29 clinical S. maltophilia isolates shows successful infection of five isolates and electron microscopy indicates that AXL3 is a member of the Siphoviridae family. Complete genome sequencing and analysis reveals a 47.5 kb genome predicted to encode 65 proteins. Functionality testing suggests AXL3 is a virulent phage and results show that AXL3 uses the type IV pilus, a virulence factor on the cell surface, as its receptor across its host range. This research identifies a novel virulent phage and characterization suggests that AXL3 is a promising phage therapy candidate, with future research examining modification through genetic engineering to broaden its host range.


Jaclyn G McCutcheon, Andrea Lin, Jonathan J Dennis. Isolation and Characterization of the Novel Bacteriophage AXL3 against Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Sep 01;21(17)

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PMID: 32882851

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