Bacteriophage resistance mechanisms

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2010 May;8(5):317-27. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2315. Epub 2010 Mar 29.


Phages are now acknowledged as the most abundant microorganisms on the planet and are also possibly the most diversified. This diversity is mostly driven by their dynamic adaptation when facing selective pressure such as phage resistance mechanisms, which are widespread in bacterial hosts. When infecting bacterial cells, phages face a range of antiviral mechanisms, and they have evolved multiple tactics to avoid, circumvent or subvert these mechanisms in order to thrive in most environments. In this Review, we highlight the most important antiviral mechanisms of bacteria as well as the counter-attacks used by phages to evade these systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Bacteria / virology*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacteriophages / pathogenicity*
  • Bacteriophages / physiology
  • DNA Restriction-Modification Enzymes / physiology
  • DNA, Viral / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / virology
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Virus / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Virus / physiology
  • Virus Attachment
  • Virus Internalization


  • DNA Restriction-Modification Enzymes
  • DNA, Viral
  • Receptors, Virus