Bacteriophage-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii are resensitized to antimicrobials

Nat Microbiol. 2021 Feb;6(2):157-161. doi: 10.1038/s41564-020-00830-7. Epub 2021 Jan 11.


We characterized two bacteriophages, ΦFG02 and ΦCO01, against clinical isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii and established that the bacterial capsule is the receptor for these phages. Phage-resistant mutants harboured loss-of-function mutations in genes responsible for capsule biosynthesis, resulting in capsule loss and disruption of phage adsorption. The phage-resistant strains were resensitized to human complement, beta-lactam antibiotics and alternative phages and exhibited diminished fitness in vivo. Using a mouse model of A. baumannii infection, we showed that phage therapy was effective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Acinetobacter Infections / therapy*
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / drug effects
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / genetics
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / virology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Capsules / virology
  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Complement System Proteins / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loss of Function Mutation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phage Therapy*
  • beta-Lactamase Inhibitors / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactamase Inhibitors
  • Complement System Proteins