Molecular and evolutionary basis of O-antigenic polysaccharide-driven phage sensitivity in environmental pseudomonads

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Dec 12;11(6):e0204923. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.02049-23. Epub 2023 Oct 6.


The application of plant-beneficial microorganisms to protect crop plants is a promising alternative to the usage of chemicals. However, biocontrol research often faces difficulties in implementing this approach due to the inconsistency of the bacterial inoculant to establish itself within the root microbiome. Beneficial bacterial inoculants can be decimated by the presence of their natural predators, notably bacteriophages (also called phages). Thus, it is important to gain knowledge regarding the mechanisms behind phage-bacteria interactions to overcome this challenge. Here, we evidence that the major long O-antigenic polysaccharide (O-PS, O-antigen) of the widely used model plant-beneficial bacterium Pseudomonas protegens CHA0 is the receptor of its natural predator, the phage ΦGP100. We examined the distribution of the gene cluster directing the synthesis of this O-PS and identified signatures of horizontal gene acquisitions. Altogether, our study highlights the importance of bacterial cell surface structure variation in the complex interplay between phages and their Pseudomonas hosts.

Keywords: Pseudomonas; bacteriophages; environmental microbiology; molecular biology; virus-host interactions.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Bacteriophages* / genetics
  • Biological Evolution
  • O Antigens / genetics


  • O Antigens