Host receptors for bacteriophage adsorption

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2016 Feb;363(4):fnw002. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnw002. Epub 2016 Jan 10.


The adsorption of bacteriophages (phages) onto host cells is, in all but a few rare cases, a sine qua non condition for the onset of the infection process. Understanding the mechanisms involved and the factors affecting it is, thus, crucial for the investigation of host-phage interactions. This review provides a survey of the phage host receptors involved in recognition and adsorption and their interactions during attachment. Comprehension of the whole infection process, starting with the adsorption step, can enable and accelerate our understanding of phage ecology and the development of phage-based technologies. To assist in this effort, we have established an open-access resource--the Phage Receptor Database (PhReD)--to serve as a repository for information on known and newly identified phage receptors.

Keywords: bacterial phage resistance; bacteriophage adsorption; host receptors; phage attachment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Bacteria / virology
  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Virus / chemistry
  • Receptors, Virus / physiology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Receptors, Virus