Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.102, No.2, 971-983, 2018
A guard-killer phage cocktail effectively lyses the host and inhibits the development of phage-resistant strains of Escherichia coli
In recent years, after the emergence of a large number of multidrug-resistant bacteria, phages and phage-associated products for the prevention and control of bacterial disease have revealed prominent advantages as compared with antibiotics. However, bacteria are susceptible to becoming phage-resistant, thus severely limiting the application of phage therapy. In this study, Escherichia coli cells were incubated with lytic bacteriophages to obtain mutants that were resistant to the lytic phages. Then, bacteriophages against the phage-resistant variants were isolated and subsequently mixed with the original lytic phage to prepare a novel phage cocktail for bactericidal use. The data showed that our phage cocktail not only had notable bactericidal effects, including a widened host range and rapid lysis, but also decreased the generation and mutation frequency of phage-resistant strains in vitro. In addition, we tested our cocktail in a murine bacteremia model. The results suggested that compared with the single phage, fewer phage-resistant bacteria appeared during the treatment of phage cocktail, thus prolonging the usable time of the phage cocktail and improving its therapeutic effect in phage applications. Importantly, our preparation method of phage cocktail was proved to be generalizable. Because the bacteriophage against the phage-resistant strain is an ideal guard that promptly attacks potential phage resistance, this guard-killer dual-function phage cocktail provides a novel strategy for phage therapy that allows the natural ecology to be sustained.