Exploring Mucin as Adjunct to Phage Therapy

Microorganisms. 2021 Feb 28;9(3):509. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9030509.


Conventional phage therapy using bacteriophages (phages) for specific targeting of pathogenic bacteria is not always useful as a therapeutic for gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction. Complex dysbiotic GI disorders such as small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO), ulcerative colitis (UC), or Crohn's disease (CD) are even more difficult to treat as these conditions have shifts in multiple populations of bacteria within the microbiome. Such community-level structural changes in the gut microbiota may require an alternative to conventional phage therapy such as fecal virome transfer or a phage cocktail capable of targeting multiple bacterial species. Additionally, manipulation of the GI microenvironment may enhance beneficial bacteria-phage interactions during treatment. Mucin, produced along the entire length of the GI tract to protect the underlying mucosa, is a prominent contributor to the GI microenvironment and may facilitate bacteria-phage interactions in multiple ways, potentially serving as an adjunct during phage therapy. In this review, we will describe what is known about the role of mucin within the GI tract and how its facilitation of bacteria-phage interactions should be considered in any effort directed at optimizing effectiveness of a phage therapy for gastrointestinal dysbiosis.

Keywords: fecal virome transfer; intestine; mucin; phage.

Publication types

  • Review