Phage digestion of a bacterial capsule imparts resistance to two antibiotic agents

Cheng Hung Luo, Ya Han Hsu, Wen Jui Wu, Kai Chih Chang, Chen Sheng Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, replicating and multiplying using host resources. For specific infections, bacteriophages have developed extraordinary proteins for recognizing and degrading their host. Inspired by the remarkable development of viral proteins, we used the tail fiber protein to treat multiple drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. The tail fiber protein exhibits polysaccharide depolymerases activity which specifically degrades exopolysaccharide (EPS) during the phage–host interaction. However, EPS-degraded cells are observed altering host susceptibility to bacterial lysis peptide, the endolysin-derived peptide. Notably, endolysin is necessary in the process of progeny liberation by breaking the bacterial cell wall. Surprisingly, peeling the EPS animated host to resist colistin, the last-resort antibiotic used in multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria infection. Tail fiber-modified cell wall reduces colistin attachment, causing temporary antibiotic-resistance and possibly raising clinical risks in treating multiple drug-resistant A. baumannii.

Original languageEnglish
Article number794
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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