Shigatoxin encoding Bacteriophage φ24B modulates bacterial metabolism to raise antimicrobial tolerance

Giles Holt, John Lodge, Alan McCarthy, A. K. Graham, Gregory Young, Simon Bridge, Alistair Brown, M. Veses-Garcia, Clare Lanyon, A. Sails, Heather Allison, Darren Smith

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How temperate bacteriophages play a role in microbial infection and disease progression is not fully understood. They do this in part by carrying genes that promote positive evolutionary selection for the lysogen. Using Biolog phenotype microarrays and comparative metabolite profiling we demonstrate the impact of the well-characterised Shiga toxin-prophage φ24B on its Escherichia coli host MC1061. As a lysogen, the prophage alters the bacterial physiology by increasing the rates of respiration and cell proliferation. This is the first reported study detailing phage-mediated control of the E. coli biotin and fatty acid synthesis that is rate limiting to cell growth. Through φ24B conversion the lysogen also gains increased antimicrobial tolerance to chloroxylenol and 8-hydroxyquinoline. Distinct metabolite profiles discriminate between MC1061 and the φ24B lysogen in standard culture, and when treated with 2 antimicrobials. This is also the first reported use of metabolite profiling to characterise the physiological impact of lysogeny under antimicrobial pressure. We propose that temperate phages do not need to carry antimicrobial resistance genes to play a significant role in tolerance to antimicrobials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number40424
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date20 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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