Phages to shape the gut microbiota?

The phage therapy concept is simple; target the phage to the bacterial pathogen causing disease.

As phages are natural killers of bacteria, one could expect this to be an easy task. However, when it comes to phage therapy within the gut, it might not be quite that simple.

Already without exogenous intervention, a multitude of phage–bacterial interactions occur within the human gut, some of which might play a direct role in disease progression.

In this perspective, Dahlman et al, aimed to summarize the current understanding of phages within the gut, moving from infancy, adulthood, and then into disease progression.

They highlighted recent advances in phage-based interventions, both conventional phage therapy and the progressing field of whole virome transplant.

Access the full review.

Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance will dedicate a session to phage therapy in microbiota modulation, entitled “Bacteriophages & Microbiota:  On the Way to a Medical Revolution?”. 

Take a glance at this year’s agenda.

Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2022 Congress
November 3-4, 2022


Programmed M13 Bacteriophage Inspired Nose


Programmed M13 Bacteriophage Inspired Nose

Based on the programable surface chemistry of M13 bacteriophage and inspired by the neural mechanism of the mammalian olfactory system, Lee et al., proposed an electronic nose.

The neural pattern separation (NPS) was devised to apply the pattern separation that operates in the memory and learning process of the brain to the electronic nose.

This research demonstrated an electronic nose in a portable device form, distinguishing polycyclic aromatic compounds (harmful in living environment) in an atomic-level resolution (97.5% selectivity rate) for the first time.

The results provide practical methodology and inspiration for the second-generation electronic nose development toward the performance of detection dogs (K9).

More information on this brilliant creation

Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2022 Congress
November 3-4, 2022

Phage Therapy Against SARS-Cov-2

Non-tailed phages with multifaceted capsid morphology (Cystoviridae, Leviviridae, Corticoviridae, Tectiviridae) and pleomorphic phages (Plasmaviridae).

Knowing that one of the life threatening aspects of COVID-19 is secondary infections and reduced efficacy of antibiotics against them, Shahin et. al, brilliantly discussed the potential applications of bacteriophages in the fight against the present pandemic and the post-COVID era.

Since the beginning of COVID-19 many researches have been done on identification, treatment, and vaccine development. Bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) could offer novel approaches to detect, treat and control COVID-19.

  • Phage therapy and in particular using phage cocktails can be used to control or eliminate the bacterial pathogen as an alternative or complementary therapeutic agent.
  • Phage interaction with the host immune system can regulate the inflammatory response.
  • Phage display and engineered synthetic phages can be utilized to develop new vaccines and antibodies, stimulate the immune system, and elicit a rapid and well-appropriate defense response.

Today, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 new variants like delta and omicron has proved the urgent need for precise, efficient and novel approaches for vaccine development and virus detection techniques in which bacteriophages may be one of the plausible solutions. Phages with similar morphology and/or genetic content to that of coronaviruses can be used for ecological and epidemiological modeling of SARS-CoV-2 behavior and future generations of coronavirus, and in general new viral pathogens.

Read the full review 

Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2022  is back, join us this November to know more about the potential of phage therapy in COVID-19 infection.

Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance 2022 Congress
November 3-4, 2022

Phage infection mediates inhibition of bystander bacteria

Phage infection mediates inhibition of bystander bacteria Bacteriophages (phages) are being considered as alternative therapeutics for the treatment of multidrug resistant bacterial infections. Considering phages have narrow host-ranges, it is generally accepted that therapeutic phages will have a marginal impact on non-target bacteria. We have discovered that lytic phage infection induces transcription of type VIIb secretion system (T7SS) genes in the pathobiont Enterococcus faecalis. Membrane damage during phage infection induces T7SS gene expression resulting in cell contact dependent antagonism of diverse Gram positive bystander bacteria. Deletion of essB, a T7SS structural component abrogates phage-mediated killing of bystanders. A predicted immunity gene confers protection against T7SS mediated inhibition and disruption of an upstream LXG toxin gene rescues growth of E. faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus bystanders. Phage induction of T7SS gene expression and bystander inhibition requires IreK, a serine/threonine kinase, and OG1RF_11099, a predicted transcriptional activator. Our findings highlight how phage infection of a target bacterium can affect non-target bystander bacteria and implies phage therapy could impose collateral damage to polymicrobial communities.

Image source:

News Source:

Journal reference:
Anushila Chatterjee, Julia L. E. Willett, Gary M. Dunny, Breck A. Duerkop. Phage infection mediates inhibition of bystander bacteria. bioRxiv 2020.05.11.077669;

Scientists hope to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria by targeting their ‘alarm proteins’

© Pete Wardell/USCDCP/Pixnio

For years, antibiotic-resistant infections have been the bane of modern health care. Now, researchers have found a new way to attack some types of these nearly unstoppable microbes, Wired reports. In a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified a special alarm protein in resistant strains that alerts the bacterial cells when there’s a new antibiotic threat, prompting them to rearrange the components of their cell membranes to confuse their attacker. The researchers hope that by designing treatments to target this protein, they can hijack the cells’ communication system. This won’t kill the microbes, the researchers say, but it will leave them susceptible to antibiotics once again.

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Microbiota Quality and Mitochondrial Activity Link with Occurrence of Muscle Cramps in Hemodialysis Patients

Pilote study on Microbiota Quality and Mitochondrial Activity by Pierre-Yves Durand, Carole Nicco, Dedier Serteyn, David Attaf, Marvin Edeas


Hemodialysis-associated muscle cramp (HAMC) is a common complication under citrate dialysate (CD) occurring in 30% of cases. Our objectives were to assess the gut microbiota quality, mitochondrial activity, and to investigate their possible relationship with HAMC.


Ten end-stage renal disease patients (78.9 ± 2.1 years) treated by hemodialysis (HD) with CD were enrolled and then classified according to the frequency of HAMCs: “frequent HAMCs group” (n = 5) and “absence of HAMCs group” (n = 5). Gut microbiota quality, mitochondrial activity, and some markers of oxidative stress (OS) were investigated.


In patients with cramps, gut microbiota diversity seemed lower and some genera including Helicobacter, Lachnospira, Roseburia, and Haemophilus seemed over-expressed, a significant increase of citratemia and significant lowering mitochondrial function were observed. No difference was observed on the OS markers.


This first clinical study revealed a possible dysbiosis of microbiota and a mitochondrial dysfunction into HD patients with cramps under CD compared to patients without cramp.

© 2018 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Authors:  Pierre-Yves Durand, Carole Nicco, Dedier Serteyn, David Attaf, Marvin Edeas

Prof. Marvin Edeas highlights: Microbiota and Phage Therapy – “Future Challenges in Medicine”

Prof. Marvin Edeas highlights: Microbiota and Phage Therapy - "Future Challenges in Medicine"

Dr. Armelle Paule, Prof.Dominico Frezza and Prof. Marvin Edeas published an article on Phage Therapy and Microbiota.


An imbalance of bacterial quantity and quality of gut microbiota has been linked to several pathologies. New strategies of microbiota manipulation have been developed such as fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT); the use of pre/probiotics; an appropriate diet; and phage therapy. The presence of bacteriophages has been largely underestimated and their presence is a relevant component for the microbiome equilibrium. As a promising treatment, phage therapy has been extensively used in Eastern Europe to reduce pathogenic bacteria and has arisen as a new method to modulate microbiota diversity. Phages have been selected and “trained” to infect a wide spectrum of bacteria or tailored to infect specific antibiotic resistant bacteria present in patients. The new development of genetically modified phages may be an efficient tool to treat the gut microbiota dysbiosis associated with different pathologies and increased production of bacterial metabolites and subsequently decrease systemic low-grade chronic inflammation associated with chronic diseases. Microbiota quality and mitochondria dynamics can be remodulated and manipulated by phages to restore the equilibrium and homeostasis of the system. Our aim is to highlight the great interest for phages not only to eliminate and control pathogenic bacterial infection but also in the near future to modulate the microbiota by adding new functions to selected bacteria species and rebalance the dynamic among phages and bacteria. The challenge for the medicine of tomorrow is to re-think and redesign strategies differently and far from our traditional thinking.

Authors: Armelle Paule, Dominico Frezza, Marvin Edeas

Pubmed link:


Non-antibiotic antimicrobial triclosan induces multiple antibiotic resistance through genetic mutation

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Mutations led to resistance by up-regulating beta-lactamase and multi-drug efflux pump.

Antibiotic resistance poses a major threat to public health. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are generally recognized as the key factors contributing to antibiotic resistance. However, whether non-antibiotic, anti-microbial (NAAM) chemicals can directly induce antibiotic resistance is unclear. We aim to investigate whether the exposure to a NAAM chemical triclosan (TCS) has an impact on inducing antibiotic resistance on Escherichia coli. Here, we report that at a concentration of 0.2 mg/L TCS induces multi-drug resistance in wild-type Escherichia coli after 30-day TCS exposure.

The oxidative stress induced by TCS caused genetic mutations in genes such as fabI, frdD, marR, acrR and soxR, and subsequent up-regulation of the transcription of genes encoding beta-lactamases and multi-drug efflux pumps, together with down-regulation of genes related to membrane permeability. The findings advance our understanding of the potential role of NAAM chemicals in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance in microbes, and highlight the need for controlling biocide applications.

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Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance World Congress 2018 concluding remarks

The 5th World Congress on Targeting Infectious Diseases: Targeting Phage &  Antibiotic Resistance 2018 was organized in Florence, Italy in May 17-18, 2018.
During two days, more than 100 oral & poster communications were highlighted different axes and topics related to the recent advances and challenges in phage therapy, and to all innovations related to the antibiotic resistance in general.
The 5th edition was an excellent platform which gathered more than 200 participants from 33 countries, to share data, ideas, critical comments and opinions alike.
After all the high-quality presentations given by internationally renowned phage therapy and antibiotic resistance investigators as well as by young scientists and at the end of the congress, the scientific committee discerned several awards to distinguished speakers:
Scientific Achievement Award:
Prof. Richard Novick from New York University, USA was awarded for all his scientific achievements.
Prof. Novick gave a strategic presentation about “Reincarnation of a staphylococcal pathogenicity island as an antibacterial drone
For more information, please click here.
Scientific Contribution Award:
Dr Yoon Sung Nam, from Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology presented the recent advances and perspectives on Efficient in vivo phage therapy via immunological cloaking. The scientific contribution award was awarded by the scientific committee.
For more information about this award, please click here.
Poster Presentation Award:
The third award was discerned to two young researchers:
Thomas Thompson from Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK presented a poster about “Halophiles a novel source of antimicrobial natural products
For more information about this award, please click here.
Nika Janež from the Centre of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation and Process Control, Ajdovščina, Slovenia presented the “Characteristics of healthy and acne human skin colonization by bacteriophages of propionibacterium acnes and staphylococcus epidermidis and their hosts”.
For more information about this award, please click here.
The Abstracts book of Phage Therapy & Antibiotic Resistance 2018 is including all abstracts which were presented with oral and poster communication during the congress.
If you didn’t attend the conference, you can order the abstracts book by clicking here.
To access the final agenda of Phage Therapy & Antibiotic Resistance 2018, please click here.
To access the pictures of Phage Therapy & Antibiotic Resistance 2018, please click here.
The scientific committee took on consideration the conclusion of this congress to underline and target the new strategies for the next edition which will be held in 2019. All the practical information will be added soon on the website.
Pr Domenico Frezza,  University of Roma Tor Vergata
Local Organizer of Targeting Phage & Antibiotic Resistance

The poster contribution awards were delivered to two young researchers

During Phage Therapy & Antibiotic Resistance Congress 2018, Dr Thomas Thompson from Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom presented a poster about “Halophiles a novel source of antimicrobial natural products”.
The aim of this study was “to establish the potential of extremely halophilic microorganisms from Kilroot Salt Mine, Northern Ireland, as a novel source of natural product chemistry with the objective to eventually isolate and structurally elucidate original anti-infective compounds from this unique microbiome. […]”
Dr Thompson demonstrated that “Bio-assay guided fractionation of crude extracts is on-going. Halophiles remain a promising reservoir possessing broad antimicrobial activity, and there is no doubt that exploitation of extreme environments have an important role to play in AMR.”.

From her side, Dr Nika Janež from the Centre of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation and Process Control, Ajdovščina, Slovenia presented the “Characteristics of healthy and acne human skin colonization by bacteriophages of propionibacterium acnes and staphylococcus epidermidis and their hosts”.
According to Dr Janež:Propionibacterium spp. and Staphylococcus spp. were identified as the predominant and stable inhabitants of healthy human skin. They are considered to be commensal microorganisms though they are associated with development of acne and clinically relevant infections. We aim to determine Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis co-colonization characteristics of human skin potentially playing a role in health or disease of the human skin. […] Our small scale study results suggest that P. acnes, S. epidermidis and their bacteriophages are able to co-inhabit healthy human skin, but on acne skin this balance seems to be altered. The bacteriophages were examined more in detail to evaluate their possible ecological and therapeutic potential.”
The scientific committee