Effect of acute predation with bacteriophage on intermicrobial aggression by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Secor P. R., Sass G., Nazik H., Stevens D. A.

PLOS ONE, vol.12, no.6, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179659
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


In persons with structural lung disease, particularly those with cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic airway infections cause progressive loss of lung function. CF airways can be colonized by a variety of microorganisms; the most frequently encountered bacterial and fungal pathogens are Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus fumigatus, respectively. Co-infection with P. aeruginosa and A. fumigatus often results in a more rapid loss of lung function, indicating that interactions between these pathogens affect infection pathogenesis. There has been renewed interest in the use of viruses (bacteriophage, mycoviruses) as alternatives to antibiotics to treat these infections. In previous work, we found that filamentous Pf bacteriophage produced by P. aeruginosa directly inhibited the metabolic activity of A. fumigatus by binding to and sequestering iron. In the current study, we further examined how filamentous Pf bacteriophage affected interactions between P. aeruginosa and A. fumigatus. Here, we report that the antifungal properties of supernatants collected from P. aeruginosa cultures infected with Pf bacteriophage were substantially less inhibitory towards A. fumigatus biofilms. In particular, we found that acute infection of P. aeruginosa by Pf bacteriophage inhibited the production of the virulence factor pyoverdine. Our results raise the possibility that the reduced production of antimicrobials by P. aeruginosa infected by Pf bacteriophage may promote conditions in CF airways that allow co-infection with A. fumigatus to occur, exacerbating disease severity. Our results also highlight the importance of considering how the use of bacteriophage as therapeutic agents could affect the behavior and composition of polymicrobial communities colonizing sites of chronic infection.