Aleksandra Petrovic Fabijan (Westmead Institute for Medical Research) and colleagues published a preprint on L-form switching in pathogenic Escherichia coli. They demonstrated that the osmotically fragile L-form is highly tolerant of oxidative stress, powerful antibiotics, and phages. They also found that L-form switching is a common response to cell wall-targeting antibiotics and lytic phages.
Rodrigo Ibarra-Chávez (University of Copenhagen) and colleagues published a review in FEMS on emerging applications of phage satellites in biotechnology. They found phage satellites exploit phages to ensure their own propagation and horizontal transfer into new bacterial hosts. The article reviews parasite-host dynamics of the known phage satellites, their genomic organization, and hijacking mechanisms, along with diverse biotech applications.
Michael Blazanin and Paul Turner (Yale University) published a preprint in EcoEvoRxiv on the role of community context in shaping bacteria-phage ecology and evolution. They synthesized the emerging body of bacteria-phage experiments in medium-complexity communities, and found that community context (the presence of other bacterial species) sometimes has zero effect on phage-host evolution, and other times constrains phage-host coevolutionary dynamics. They highlight that this area is full of unanswered questions ready for further investigations.
Kristopher Kieft (University of Wisconsin–Madison) and colleagues published a research article in Nature Communications on the ecology of inorganic sulfur auxiliary metabolism in widespread phages. They identified 191 phages encoding 227 auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) for the oxidation of sulfur and thiosulfate. Profiling of AMGs suggested significant contributions by phages to sulfur and thiosulfate oxidation. The study provides fundamental insights into the distribution, diversity, and ecology of phage auxiliary metabolism associated with sulfur.
Stephen Abedon (Ohio State University, USA) and colleagues published an opinion article in Viruses on improving phage-biofilm in vitro experimentation. They discuss current issues and suggest improvements in the design, interpretation and reporting of phage-biofilm in vitro experiments.