Although the study of phage infection has a long history and catalyzed much of our current understanding in bacterial genetics, molecular biology, evolution and ecology, it seems that microbiologists have only just begun to explore the intricacy of phage-host interactions. In a recent manuscript by Cenens et al. we found molecular and genetic support for pseudolysogenic development in the Salmonella Typhimurium-phage P22 model system. More specifically, we observed the existence of phage carrier cells harboring an episomal P22 element that segregated asymmetrically upon subsequent divisions. Moreover, a newly discovered P22 ORFan protein (Pid) able to derepress a metabolic operon of the host (dgo) proved to be specifically expressed in these phage carrier cells. In this addendum we expand on our view regarding pseudolysogeny and its effects on bacterial and phage biology.
Keywords: Salmonella Typhimurium; phage P22; phage carrier state; phage–host interactions; pseudolysogeny.