Characterization and Genomic Analysis of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Phage UAE_MI-01 Isolated from Birds

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 27;23(23):14846. doi: 10.3390/ijms232314846.


Verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 is responsible for the majority of foodborne outbreaks worldwide and may lead to death. Bacteriophages are natural killers of bacteria. All previously reported E. coli O157:H7 phages were isolated from ruminants or swine. Here, we report for the first time a phage isolated from bird feces in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), designated as UAE_MI-01, indicating birds as a good source of phages. Thus, phages could be a tool for predicting the presence of the host bacteria in an animal or the environment. UAE_MI-01 was found to be a lytic phage that was stable at wide ranges of pH, temperature, and chemical disinfectants, and with a burst size of almost 100 plaque-forming units per host cell after a latent period of 20 min and an adsorption rate constant (K) of 1.25 × 10-7 mL min-1. The phage genome was found to be 44,281 bp long with an average GC content of 54.7%. The presence of the phage indicates the presence of the host cell E. coli O157:H7 in wild birds. Therefore, other birds, mainly poultry, could be also investigated for the presence of this pathogenic bacterium. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of an E. coli O157:H7 bacteriophage isolated from a bird.

Keywords: E. coli O157:H7; bacteriophage; characterization; phage genome; phage therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteriophages* / genetics
  • Escherichia coli O157* / genetics
  • Genome
  • Genomics
  • Ruminants
  • Swine
  • United Arab Emirates