Characterization of the morphology and genome of an Escherichia
Received: 23 October 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published online: 28 August 2014
Ó Springer-Verlag Wien 2014
Abstract Escherichia coli is an important opportunistic
pathogen. It can cause sepsis and severe infection. The
application of lytic bacteriophages to treat infectious dis-
eases is an alternative to antibiotics. A lytic Escherichia
coli phage, designated IME-EC2, was isolated from hos-
pital sewage. Transmission electron microscopy revealed
that IME-EC2 to be a member of the family Podoviridae.It
had a 60-nm head and a 15-nm tail. Here, we present the
complete genome sequence of this phage, which consists of
41,510 bp with an overall G?C content of 59.2 %. A total
of 60 coding sequences (CDS) were identiﬁed, and the
phage genome does not contain any tRNA genes. Forty
percent of the unknown CDSs are unique to IME-EC2.
This phage does not show signiﬁcant similarity to other
phages at the DNA level, which suggests that IME-EC2
could be a novel phage. One of the unique features iden-
tiﬁed in the IME-EC2 genome was a gene coding for a
putative colanic-acid-degrading protein, which could allow
the phage to degrade bacterial capsule and bioﬁlms.
Another unique feature is that IME-EC2 does not contain a
terminase small subunit, which suggests that this phage
may have a unique packaging mechanism. The present
work provides novel information on phages and shows that
this lytic phage or its products could be exploited to destroy
bacterial bioﬁlms and pathogenic E. coli.
Escherichia coli is widely distributed in the environment. It
is also a well-known human pathogen. It can cause sepsis
and infections of the enteric, urinary, pulmonary, and
nervous systems, sometimes in massive outbreaks. Patho-
gens are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and
other biocides, which has rekindled the interest in one
potentially attractive therapy – phage therapy. Phage
therapy strategies can be used to treat infectious diseases
and address the problem of bacterial contaminants in food
[5, 38]. Lytic bacteriophages can be isolated quickly from
several substances present in the environment, such as
sludge, sewage, and soil. This indicates that a phage-based
method of controlling the worldwide problem of infectious
bacteria is likely to be environmentally safe .
There are many bacteriophages in the environment, and
they play a signiﬁcant role in regulating the biodiversity of
the bacterial community . Characterizing and
sequencing new bacteriophages found in the environment
may provide insight into phage evolution and diversity .
It may provide information about phage-bacterium inter-
actions in the context of complex microbial environments.
This paper describes the isolation and characterization
of a novel Escherichia coli phage, IME-EC2. It was iso-
lated from hospital sewage and characterized on the basis
of its morphology and complete genome sequence.
Y. Hua and X. An have contributed equally to this work.
Y. Hua Á X. An Á G. Pei Á S. Li Á W. Wang Á X. Xu Á H. Fan Á
Y. Huang Á Z. Zhang Á Z. Mi Á J. Li Á Y. Tong (&)
State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity,
Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology,
Beijing 100071, China
Clinical Laboratory, No. 307 Hospital, Beijing 100071, China
F. Zhang (&)
College of Life Sciences, Capital Normal University,
Beijing 100048, China
Arch Virol (2014) 159:3249–3256