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Journal Articles Microbiology Spectrum Year : 2023

Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Phage Collection against Avian-Pathogenic Escherichia coli

Marianne Nicolas
Angélina Trotereau
Antoine Culot
Robert Atterbury
Jeroen Wagemans
Rob Lavigne
Philippe Velge


The increase in antibiotic-resistant avian-pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC), the causative agent of colibacillosis in poultry, warrants urgent research and the development of alternative therapies. This study describes the isolation and characterization of 19 genetically diverse, lytic coliphages, 8 of which were tested in combination for their efficacy in controlling in ovo APEC infections. Genome homology analysis revealed that the phages belong to nine different genera, one of them being a novel genus (Nouzillyvirus). One phage, REC, was derived from a recombination event between two Phapecoctavirus phages (ESCO5 and ESCO37) isolated in this study. Twenty-six of the 30 APEC strains tested were lysed by at least one phage. Phages exhibited varying infectious capacities, with narrow to broad host ranges. The broad host range of some phages could be partially explained by the presence of receptor-binding protein carrying a polysaccharidase domain. To demonstrate their therapeutic potential, a phage cocktail consisting of eight phages belonging to eight different genera was tested against BEN4358, an APEC O2 strain. In vitro, this phage cocktail fully inhibited the growth of BEN4358. In a chicken lethality embryo assay, the phage cocktail enabled 90% of phage-treated embryos to survive infection with BEN4358, compared with 0% of nontreated embryos, indicating that these novel phages are good candidates to successfully treat colibacillosis in poultry. IMPORTANCE Colibacillosis, the most common bacterial disease affecting poultry, is mainly treated by antibiotics. Due to the increased prevalence of multidrug-resistant avian-pathogenic Escherichia coli, there is an urgent need to assess the efficacy of alternatives to antibiotherapy, such as phage therapy. Here, we have isolated and characterized 19 coliphages that belong to nine phage genera. We showed that a combination of 8 of these phages was efficacious in vitro to control the growth of a clinical isolate of E. coli. Used in ovo, this phage combination allowed embryos to survive APEC infection. Thus, this phage combination represents a promising treatment for avian colibacillosis.
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Licence : CC BY - Attribution
Licence : CC BY - Attribution

Dates and versions

hal-04167471 , version 1 (20-07-2023)





Marianne Nicolas, Angélina Trotereau, Antoine Culot, Arshnee Moodley, Robert Atterbury, et al.. Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Phage Collection against Avian-Pathogenic Escherichia coli. Microbiology Spectrum, 2023, 11 (3), pp.e0429622. ⟨10.1128/spectrum.04296-22⟩. ⟨hal-04167471⟩
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