All Publications

  • Bacteriophages and the Immune System. Annual review of virology Popescu, M. n., Van Belleghem, J. D., Khosravi, A. n., Bollyky, P. L. 2021


    Bacteriophages-viruses that infect bacteria-are abundant within our bodies, but their significance to human health is only beginning to be explored. Here, we synthesize what is currently known about our phageome and its interactions with the immune system. We first review how phages indirectly affect immunity via bacterial expression of phage-encoded proteins. We next review how phages directly influence innate immunity and bacterial clearance. Finally, we discuss adaptive immunity against phages and its implications for phage/bacterial interactions. In light of these data, we propose that our microbiome can be understood as an interconnected network of bacteria, bacteriophages, and human cells and that the stability of these tri-kingdom interactions may be important for maintaining our immunologic and metabolic health. Conversely, the disruption of this balance, through exposure to exogenous phages, microbial dysbiosis, or immune dysregulation, may contribute to disease. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Virology, Volume 8 is September 2021. Please see for revised estimates.

    View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev-virology-091919-074551

    View details for PubMedID 34014761

  • Pf Bacteriophage and Their Impact on Pseudomonas Virulence, Mammalian Immunity, and Chronic Infections. Frontiers in immunology Secor, P. R., Burgener, E. B., Kinnersley, M. n., Jennings, L. K., Roman-Cruz, V. n., Popescu, M. n., Van Belleghem, J. D., Haddock, N. n., Copeland, C. n., Michaels, L. A., de Vries, C. R., Chen, Q. n., Pourtois, J. n., Wheeler, T. J., Milla, C. E., Bollyky, P. L. 2020; 11: 244


    Pf bacteriophage are temperate phages that infect the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major cause of chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) and other settings. Pf and other temperate phages have evolved complex, mutualistic relationships with their bacterial hosts that impact both bacterial phenotypes and chronic infection. We and others have reported that Pf phages are a virulence factor that promote the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa infections in animal models and are associated with worse skin and lung infections in humans. Here we review the biology of Pf phage and what is known about its contributions to pathogenesis and clinical disease. First, we review the structure, genetics, and epidemiology of Pf phage. Next, we address the diverse and surprising ways that Pf phages contribute to P. aeruginosa phenotypes including effects on biofilm formation, antibiotic resistance, and motility. Then, we cover data indicating that Pf phages suppress mammalian immunity at sites of bacterial infection. Finally, we discuss recent literature implicating Pf in chronic P. aeruginosa infections in CF and other settings. Together, these reports suggest that Pf bacteriophage have direct effects on P. aeruginosa infections and that temperate phages are an exciting frontier in microbiology, immunology, and human health.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00244

    View details for PubMedID 32153575

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7047154

  • Bacteriophage trigger antiviral immunity and prevent clearance of bacterial infection. Science (New York, N.Y.) Sweere, J. M., Van Belleghem, J. D., Ishak, H. n., Bach, M. S., Popescu, M. n., Sunkari, V. n., Kaber, G. n., Manasherob, R. n., Suh, G. A., Cao, X. n., de Vries, C. R., Lam, D. N., Marshall, P. L., Birukova, M. n., Katznelson, E. n., Lazzareschi, D. V., Balaji, S. n., Keswani, S. G., Hawn, T. R., Secor, P. R., Bollyky, P. L. 2019; 363 (6434)


    Bacteriophage are abundant at sites of bacterial infection, but their effects on mammalian hosts are unclear. We have identified pathogenic roles for filamentous Pf bacteriophage produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) in suppression of immunity against bacterial infection. Pf promote Pa wound infection in mice and are associated with chronic human Pa wound infections. Murine and human leukocytes endocytose Pf, and internalization of this single-stranded DNA virus results in phage RNA production. This triggers Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3)- and TIR domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-β (TRIF)-dependent type I interferon production, inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and the suppression of phagocytosis. Conversely, immunization of mice against Pf prevents Pa wound infection. Thus, Pf triggers maladaptive innate viral pattern-recognition responses, which impair bacterial clearance. Vaccination against phage virions represents a potential strategy to prevent bacterial infection.

    View details for PubMedID 30923196