Collateral sensitivity increases the efficacy of a rationally designed bacteriophage combination to control Salmonella enterica

J Virol. 2024 Mar 19;98(3):e0147623. doi: 10.1128/jvi.01476-23. Epub 2024 Feb 20.


The ability of virulent bacteriophages to lyse bacteria influences bacterial evolution, fitness, and population structure. Knowledge of both host susceptibility and resistance factors is crucial for the successful application of bacteriophages as biological control agents in clinical therapy, food processing, and agriculture. In this study, we isolated 12 bacteriophages termed SPLA phage which infect the foodborne pathogen Salmonella enterica. To determine phage host range, a diverse collection of Enterobacteriaceae and Salmonella enterica was used and genes involved in infection by six SPLA phages were identified using Salmonella Typhimurium strain ST4/74. Candidate host receptors included lipopolysaccharide (LPS), cellulose, and BtuB. Lipopolysaccharide was identified as a susceptibility factor for phage SPLA1a and mutations in LPS biosynthesis genes spontaneously emerged during culture with S. Typhimurium. Conversely, LPS was a resistance factor for phage SPLA5b which suggested that emergence of LPS mutations in culture with SPLA1a represented collateral sensitivity to SPLA5b. We show that bacteria-phage co-culture with SPLA1a and SPLA5b was more successful in limiting the emergence of phage resistance compared to single phage co-culture. Identification of host susceptibility and resistance genes and understanding infection dynamics are critical steps in the rationale design of phage cocktails against specific bacterial pathogens.IMPORTANCEAs antibiotic resistance continues to emerge in bacterial pathogens, bacterial viruses (phage) represent a potential alternative or adjunct to antibiotics. One challenge for their implementation is the predisposition of bacteria to rapidly acquire resistance to phages. We describe a functional genomics approach to identify mechanisms of susceptibility and resistance for newly isolated phages that infect and lyse Salmonella enterica and use this information to identify phage combinations that exploit collateral sensitivity, thus increasing efficacy. Collateral sensitivity is a phenomenon where resistance to one class of antibiotics increases sensitivity to a second class of antibiotics. We report a functional genomics approach to rationally design a phage combination with a collateral sensitivity dynamic which resulted in increased efficacy. Considering such evolutionary trade-offs has the potential to manipulate the outcome of phage therapy in favor of resolving infection without selecting for escape mutants and is applicable to other virus-host interactions.

Keywords: BtuB; LPS; TraDIS; antimicrobial; collateral sensitivity; phage.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteriophages* / isolation & purification
  • Drug Collateral Sensitivity
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Phage Therapy
  • Salmonella Infections / therapy
  • Salmonella enterica* / virology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Lipopolysaccharides