How bacteria evade bacteriophages in vivo

Phage therapy, which uses viruses known as bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections, is a long-standing medical procedure whose mechanisms of action are still poorly understood. Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and ...

New technique improves directed evolution of microorganisms

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed and demonstrated a new technique for controlling directed evolution in bacteria. The technique can be used to better engineer microorganisms for use in biopharmaceutical ...

Bacterial viruses: Faithful allies against antibiotic resistance

It is a fact that bacteria are increasingly developing antibiotic resistance. Information campaigns have raised awareness among the general public that the main cause of antibiotic resistance is the high 'selection pressure' ...

Bacteria can develop strong immunity for protection against viruses

A new study led by a team of bioscientists from Durham University, UK, in collaboration with University of Liverpool, Northumbria University and New England Biolabs, hopes to exploit newly characterized defense systems in ...

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Bacteriophage

A bacteriophage (from 'bacteria' and Greek φαγεῖν phagein "to devour") is any one of a number of viruses that infect bacteria. They do this by injecting genetic material, which they carry enclosed in an outer protein capsid. The genetic material can be ssRNA, dsRNA, ssDNA, or dsDNA ('ss-' or 'ds-' prefix denotes single-strand or double-strand) along with either circular or linear arrangement.

Bacteriophages are among the most common and diverse entities in the biosphere. The term is commonly used in its shortened form, phage.

Phages are widely distributed in locations populated by bacterial hosts, such as soil or the intestines of animals. One of the densest natural sources for phages and other viruses is sea water, where up to 9×108 virions per milliliter have been found in microbial mats at the surface, and up to 70% of marine bacteria may be infected by phages. They have been used for over 90 years as an alternative to antibiotics in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as well in France. They are seen as a possible therapy against multi-drug-resistant strains of many bacteria.

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