Phage-Inducible Chromosomal Islands (PICIs): What are they? What can they do?

Dr. Rodrigo Ibarra Chavez, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, will join the Phage Therapy Congress to present a talk entitled “Phage-Inducible Chromosomal Islands (PICIs): What are they? What can they do?”.

Bacteria need to protect themselves from infection and killing by phages to survive in the environment. For this purpose, bacteria have developed a sophisticated arsenal of defense mechanisms that can protect individual cells or the overall bacterial population. Individualized protection is achieved via systems such as CRISPR-Cas or lysogenization that allow the infected cell to survive. By contrast, population-based protection such as abortive infection systems lead to the cell’s death before phage progeny is released.

In his talk, Dr. Chavez will describe a new role for phage-inducible chromosomal islands (PICIs) in protecting bacterial populations from phage predation. The resulting increased survival has consequences for the acquisition of foreign DNA such as antimicrobial resistance and fitness genes by the prey population as it also allows for the increased survival of bacteria that have acquired new genetic material. As a direct consequence of this increased survival, PICIs expand genetic diversity in bacterial populations. Such increased genetic diversity is advantageous to the complete bacterial population as the best adapted clones will outcompete others in any given environment. PICIs therefore also act as key mediators of population diversification.

Targeting Phage Therapy 2023
6th World Conference
June 1-2, 2023 – Paris, France