Rapid Colorimetric Detection of Bacterial Species through the Capture of Gold Nanoparticles by Chimeric Phages.
ABSTRACT: Rapid, inexpensive, and sensitive detection of bacterial pathogens is an important goal for several aspects of human health and safety. We present a simple strategy for detecting a variety of bacterial species based on the interaction between bacterial cells and the viruses that infect them (phages). We engineer phage M13 to display the receptor-binding protein from a phage that naturally targets the desired bacteria. Thiolation of the engineered phages allows the binding of gold nanoparticles, which aggregate on the phages and act as a signal amplifier, resulting in a visible color change due to alteration of surface plasmon resonance properties. We demonstrate the detection of two strains of Escherichia coli, the human pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Vibrio cholerae, and two strains of the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris. The assay can detect ?100 cells with no cross-reactivity found among the Gram-negative bacterial species tested here. The assay can be performed in less than an hour and is robust to different media, including seawater and human serum. This strategy combines highly evolved biological materials with the optical properties of gold nanoparticles to achieve the simple, sensitive, and specific detection of bacterial species.
Project description:Rapid, specific, and sensitive detection of pathogenic bacteria in drink, food, and clinical samples is an important goal for public health. In addition, rapid characterization of antibiotic susceptibility could inform clinical choices and improve antibiotic stewardship. We previously reported a straightforward, inexpensive strategy to detect Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholerae, and Escherichia coli, taking advantage of the high affinity and specificity of phages for their bacterial hosts. Chimeric phages targeted different bacterial pathogens, and thiolation of the phages induced aggregation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), leading to a visible colorimetric response in the presence of at least ?100 cells of the target bacteria. Here, we apply this strategy to complex biological samples (milk, urine, and swabs from a porcine ex vivo model of P. aeruginosa infection). We also show that this assay can be used to identify the antibiotic susceptibility profile based on detection of bacterial growth in the presence of different antibiotics. The prospect for using phage-conjugated AuNPs to detect bacterial pathogens in clinical samples and guide antibiotic choice is discussed.
Project description:TaqMan and SYBR Green quantitative PCR (qPCR) methods were developed as DNA-based approaches to reproducibly enumerate M13 and T7 phages from phage display selection experiments individually and simultaneously. The genome copies of M13 and T7 phages were quantified by TaqMan or SYBR Green qPCR referenced against M13 and T7 DNA standard curves of known concentrations. TaqMan qPCR was capable of quantifying M13 and T7 phage DNA simultaneously with a detection range of 2.75*101-2.75*108genome copies(gc)/?L and 2.66*101-2.66*108 genome copies(gc)/?L respectively. TaqMan qPCR demonstrated an efficient amplification efficiency (Es) of 0.97 and 0.90 for M13 and T7 phage DNA, respectively. SYBR Green qPCR was ten-fold more sensitive than TaqMan qPCR, able to quantify 2.75-2.75*107gc/?L and 2.66*101-2.66*107gc/?L of M13 and T7 phage DNA, with an amplification efficiency Es of 1.06 and 0.78, respectively. Due to its superior sensitivity, SYBR Green qPCR was used to enumerate M13 and T7 phage display clones selected against a cell line, and quantified titers demonstrated accuracy comparable to titers from traditional double-layer plaque assay. Compared to enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, both qPCR methods exhibited increased detection sensitivity and reproducibility. These qPCR methods are reproducible, sensitive, and time-saving to determine their titers and to quantify a large number of phage samples individually or simultaneously, thus avoiding the need for time-intensive double-layer plaque assay. These findings highlight the attractiveness of qPCR for phage enumeration for applications ranging from selection to next-generation sequencing (NGS).
Project description:Mounting evidence suggests that the gut microbiota contribute to colorectal cancer (CRC) tumorigenesis, in which the symbiotic Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn) selectively increases immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) to hamper the host's anticancer immune response. Here, a specifically Fn-binding M13 phage was screened by phage display technology. Then, silver nanoparticles (AgNP) were assembled electrostatically on its surface capsid protein (M13@Ag) to achieve specific clearance of Fn and remodel the tumor-immune microenvironment. Both in vitro and in vivo studies showed that of M13@Ag treatment could scavenge Fn in gut and lead to reduction in MDSC amplification in the tumor site. In addition, antigen-presenting cells (APCs) were activated by M13 phages to further awaken the host immune system for CRC suppression. M13@Ag combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors (?-PD1) or chemotherapeutics (FOLFIRI) significantly prolonged overall mouse survival in the orthotopic CRC model.
Project description:The use of bacteriophages (phages) for antibacterial therapy is under increasing consideration to treat antimicrobial-resistant infections. Phages have evolved multiple mechanisms to target their bacterial hosts, such as high-affinity, environmentally hardy receptor-binding proteins. However, traditional phage therapy suffers from multiple challenges stemming from the use of an exponentially replicating, evolving entity whose biology is not fully characterized (e.g., potential gene transduction). To address this problem, we conjugate the phages to gold nanorods, creating a reagent that can be destroyed upon use (termed "phanorods"). Chimeric phages were engineered to attach specifically to several Gram-negative organisms, including the human pathogens Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Vibrio cholerae, and the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris The bioconjugated phanorods could selectively target and kill specific bacterial cells using photothermal ablation. Following excitation by near-infrared light, gold nanorods release energy through nonradiative decay pathways, locally generating heat that efficiently kills targeted bacterial cells. Specificity was highlighted in the context of a P. aeruginosa biofilm, in which phanorod irradiation killed bacterial cells while causing minimal damage to epithelial cells. Local temperature and viscosity measurements revealed highly localized and selective ablation of the bacteria. Irradiation of the phanorods also destroyed the phages, preventing replication and reducing potential risks of traditional phage therapy while enabling control over dosing. The phanorod strategy integrates the highly evolved targeting strategies of phages with the photothermal properties of gold nanorods, creating a well-controlled platform for systematic killing of bacterial cells.
Project description:Fast and reliable detection of bacterial pathogens in clinical samples, contaminated food products, and water supplies can drastically improve clinical outcomes and reduce the socio-economic impact of disease. As natural predators of bacteria, bacteriophages (phages) have evolved to bind their hosts with unparalleled specificity and to rapidly deliver and replicate their viral genome. Not surprisingly, phages and phage-encoded proteins have been used to develop a vast repertoire of diagnostic assays, many of which outperform conventional culture-based and molecular detection methods. While intact phages or phage-encoded affinity proteins can be used to capture bacteria, most phage-inspired detection systems harness viral genome delivery and amplification: to this end, suitable phages are genetically reprogrammed to deliver heterologous reporter genes, whose activity is typically detected through enzymatic substrate conversion to indicate the presence of a viable host cell. Infection with such engineered reporter phages typically leads to a rapid burst of reporter protein production that enables highly sensitive detection. In this review, we highlight recent advances in infection-based detection methods, present guidelines for reporter phage construction, outline technical aspects of reporter phage engineering, and discuss some of the advantages and pitfalls of phage-based pathogen detection. Recent improvements in reporter phage construction and engineering further substantiate the potential of these highly evolved nanomachines as rapid and inexpensive detection systems to replace or complement traditional diagnostic approaches.
Project description:Characterizing virus-host relationships is critical for understanding the impact of a virus on an ecosystem, but is challenging with existing techniques, particularly for uncultivable species. We present a general, cultivation-free approach for identifying phage-associated bacterial cells. Using PCR-activated cell sorting, we interrogate millions of individual bacteria for the presence of specific phage nucleic acids. If the nucleic acids are present, the bacteria are recovered via sorting and their genomes analyzed. This allows targeted recovery of all possible host species in a diverse population associated with a specific phage, and can be easily targeted to identify the hosts of different phages by modifying the PCR primers used for detection. Moreover, this technique allows quantification of free phage particles, as benchmarked against the "gold standard" of virus enumeration, the plaque assay.
Project description:We demonstrated a lateral flow immunoassay (LFA) for detection of viruses using fluorescently labeled M13 bacteriophage as reporters and single-reporter counting as the readout. AviTag-biotinylated M13 phage were functionalized with antibodies using avidin-biotin conjugation and fluorescently labeled with AlexaFluor 555. Individual phage bound to target viruses (here MS2 as a model) captured on an LFA membrane strip were imaged using epi-fluorescence microscopy. Using automated image processing, we counted the number of bound phage in micrographs as a function of target concentration. The resultant assay was more sensitive than enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and traditional colloidal-gold nanoparticle LFAs for direct detection of viruses.
Project description:Bacteriophages are abundant in human biomes and therefore in human clinical samples. Although this is usually not considered, they might interfere with the recovery of bacterial pathogens at two levels: 1) by propagating in the enrichment cultures used to isolate the infectious agent, causing the lysis of the bacterial host and 2) by the detection of bacterial genes inside the phage capsids that mislead the presence of the bacterial pathogen. To unravel these interferences, human samples (n?=?271) were analyzed and infectious phages were observed in 11% of blood culture, 28% of serum, 45% of ascitic fluid, 14% of cerebrospinal fluid and 23% of urine samples. The genetic content of phage particles from a pool of urine and ascitic fluid samples corresponded to bacteriophages infecting different bacterial genera. In addition, many bacterial genes packaged in the phage capsids, including antibiotic resistance genes and 16S rRNA genes, were detected in the viromes. Phage interference can be minimized applying a simple procedure that reduced the content of phages up to 3 logs while maintaining the bacterial load. This method reduced the detection of phage genes avoiding the interference with molecular detection of bacteria and reduced the phage propagation in the cultures, enhancing the recovery of bacteria up to 6 logs.
Project description:Background. How host-symbiont interactions coevolve between mutualism and parasitism depends on the ecology of the system and on the genetic and physiological constraints of the organisms involved. Theory often predicts that greater reliance on horizontal transmission favors increased costs of infection and may result in more virulent parasites or less beneficial mutualists. We set out to understand transitions between parasitism and mutualism by evolving the filamentous bacteriophage M13 and its host Escherichia coli. Results. The effect of phage M13 on bacterial fitness depends on the growth environment, and initial assays revealed that infected bacteria reproduce faster and to higher density than uninfected bacteria in 96-well microplates. These data suggested that M13 is, in fact, a facultative mutualist of E. coli. We then allowed E. coli and M13 to evolve in replicated environments, which varied in the relative opportunity for horizontal and vertical transmission of phage in order to assess the evolutionary stability of this mutualism. After 20 experimental passages, infected bacteria from treatments with both vertical and horizontal transmission of phage had evolved the fastest growth rates. At the same time, phage from these treatments no longer benefited the ancestral bacteria. Conclusions. These data suggest a positive correlation between the positive effects of M13 on E. coli hosts from the same culture and the negative effects of the same phage toward the ancestral bacterial genotype. The results also expose flaws in applying concepts from the virulence-transmission tradeoff hypothesis to mutualism evolution. We discuss the data in the context of more recent theory on how horizontal transmission affects mutualisms and explore how these effects influence phages encoding virulence factors in pathogenic bacteria.
Project description:Temperate phages are bacterial viruses that as part of their life cycle reside in the bacterial genome as prophages. They are found in many species including most clinical strains of the human pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Previously, temperate phages were considered as only bacterial predators, but mounting evidence point to both antagonistic and mutualistic interactions with for example some temperate phages contributing to virulence by encoding virulence factors. Here we show that generalized transduction, one type of bacterial DNA transfer by phages, can create conditions where not only the recipient host but also the transducing phage benefit. With antibiotic resistance as a model trait we used individual-based models and experimental approaches to show that antibiotic susceptible cells become resistant to both antibiotics and phage by i) integrating the generalized transducing temperate phages and ii) acquiring transducing phage particles carrying antibiotic resistance genes obtained from resistant cells in the environment. This is not observed for non-generalized transducing temperate phages, which are unable to package bacterial DNA, nor for generalized transducing virulent phages that do not form lysogens. Once established, the lysogenic host and the prophage benefit from the existence of transducing particles that can shuffle bacterial genes between lysogens and for example disseminate resistance to antibiotics, a trait not encoded by the phage. This facilitates bacterial survival and leads to phage population growth. We propose that generalized transduction can function as a mutualistic trait where temperate phages cooperate with their hosts to survive in rapidly-changing environments. This implies that generalized transduction is not just an error in DNA packaging but is selected for by phages to ensure their survival.