ISSN 1022-7954, Russian Journal of Genetics, 2009, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 161–170. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2009.
Original Russian Text © O.V. Shaburova, S.V. Krylov, V.P. Veiko, E.A. Pleteneva, M.V. Burkal’tseva, K.A. Miroshnikov, A. Cornelissen, R. Lavigne, N.N. Sykilinda, V.A. Kadykov,
V.V. Mesyanzhinov, G. Volckaert, V.N. Krylov, 2009, published in Genetika, 2009, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 185–195.
The occurrence and distribution of bacteria with
multiple antibiotic resistance led to the revival of the
idea of phage therapy, i.e., the employment of bacterial
viruses (bacteriophages or simply, phages) in the treat-
ment of infectious diseases. Since viable phage therapy
may have the limited applicability (open wounds, some
intestinal infections, etc.) and, most probably, its prac-
tical signiﬁcance will be gradually lost, due to the
appearance and distribution of phage-resistant bacterial
mutants, many hopes are related to using products
encoded by phage genes; these products are capable of
killing bacteria or making them more accessible to the
effect of natural immunity mechanisms and antibiotics.
They comprise lytic enzymes, bacterial polysaccharide
capsule-degrading enzymes, and (or) extracellular
polysaccharides. The latter attract special interest,
because capsules are involved in the formation of bio-
ﬁlms, the stable associates of bacteria attached to the
surface and protected with extracellular free polysac-
charides. In bacteria of
plays this role.
Although bioﬁlms may occasionally have a positive
effect (plant protection against parasitic microfungi,
inactivation of toxic compounds in sewages) [1–3], pre-
vention of their negative effect is an important task.
Because encapsulated forms of pathogenic bacteria are
highly virulent , the capsule elimination increases
the effectiveness of combating infections of animals [5,
6] or plants [7, 8]. Elimination of the surface polysac-
charide layer, for instance, the treatment of mucoid
cells in biofilms with alginate lyase also
facilitates the penetration of antibiotics .
Phages with the capsule-removing effect are
described for bacteria of different species [10–16].
Some phages simultaneously control synthesis of two
distinct polysaccharide lyases .
Search for Destruction Factors of Bacterial Biofilms:
Comparison of Phage Properties in a Group of
Bacteriophages and Specificity
of Their Halo-Formation Products
O. V. Shaburova
, S. V. Krylov
, V. P. Veiko
, E. A. Pleteneva
, M. V. Burkal’tseva
K. A. Miroshnikov
, A. Cornelissen
, R. Lavigne
, N. N. Sykilinda
, V. A. Kadykov
V. V. Mesyanzhinov
, G. Volckaert
, and V. N. Krylov
State Research Institute of Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms, Moscow, 117545 Russia;
Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119997 Russia;
Division of Gene Technology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, B-3001 Belgium;
Received May 15, 200
group of phages attributed to ﬁve species (af,
and pf16) with their common property of halo-formation (formation of lightening zones) around phage plaques
was conducted. The halo around phage plaques appears as a result of reduction or disappearance of bacterial
polysaccharide capsules. The concentration of viable bacteria remains unchanged within the halo. A compari-
son of speciﬁcities of halo-formation products from various phages was conducted by a simple method. These
products were shown to be highly speciﬁc and inactive on other species of pseudomonads. Phage-resistant
mutants scored with respect to various phages, which lost phage adsorption ability, were tolerant to
the effect of halo-formation products in most cases. Apparently, the capsular polysaccharides, which serve as a
substrate for depolymerases and are the primary phage receptors, may be often lost. Results of partial sequenc-
ing of the af phage genome revealed an open reading frame that encodes the enzyme transglycosylase similar
rather to transglycosylases of oligotrophic bacteria belonging to different species than to lysozymes of other
phages. Possibly, it is a polyfunctional enzyme combining functions of lysozyme and an enzyme that executes
the penetration of phage particle across extracellular slime and capsule.
GENETICS OF MICROORGANISMS