The Staphylococci phages family: an overview

Viruses. 2012 Dec;4(12):3316-35. doi: 10.3390/v4123316.


Due to their crucial role in pathogenesis and virulence, phages of Staphylococcus aureus have been extensively studied. Most of them encode and disseminate potent staphylococcal virulence factors. In addition, their movements contribute to the extraordinary versatility and adaptability of this prominent pathogen by improving genome plasticity. In addition to S. aureus, phages from coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CoNS) are gaining increasing interest. Some of these species, such as S. epidermidis, cause nosocomial infections and are therefore problematic for public health. This review provides an overview of the staphylococcal phages family extended to CoNS phages. At the morphological level, all these phages characterized so far belong to the Caudovirales order and are mainly temperate Siphoviridae. At the molecular level, comparative genomics revealed an extensive mosaicism, with genes organized into functional modules that are frequently exchanged between phages. Evolutionary relationships within this family, as well as with other families, have been highlighted. All these aspects are of crucial importance for our understanding of evolution and emergence of pathogens among bacterial species such as Staphylococci.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Caudovirales / classification
  • Caudovirales / genetics
  • Caudovirales / ultrastructure
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genome, Viral
  • Proviruses / classification
  • Proviruses / genetics
  • Proviruses / ultrastructure
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Staphylococcus / pathogenicity
  • Staphylococcus / virology*
  • Staphylococcus Phages / classification*
  • Staphylococcus Phages / genetics
  • Staphylococcus Phages / ultrastructure
  • Virion / classification
  • Virion / genetics
  • Virion / ultrastructure
  • Virulence Factors / genetics


  • Virulence Factors