Dec 17, 2022

Atomic structure of a staphylococcal bacteriophage using cryo-electron microscopy

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Cryo-electron microscopy by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers has exposed the structure of a bacterial virus with unprecedented detail. This is the first structure of a virus able to infect Staphylococcus epidermidis, and high-resolution knowledge of structure is a key link between viral biology and potential therapeutic use of the virus to quell bacterial infections.

Bacteriophages or “phages” is the terms used for viruses that infect bacteria. The UAB researchers, led by Terje Dokland, Ph.D., in collaboration with Asma Hatoum-Aslan, Ph.D., at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, have described atomic models for all or part of 11 different structural proteins in phage Andhra. The study is published in Science Advances.

Andhra is a member of the picovirus group. Its host range is limited to S. epidermidis. This skin bacterium is mostly benign but also is a leading cause of infections of indwelling medical devices. “Picoviruses are rarely found in phage collections and remain understudied and underused for therapeutic applications,” said Hatoum-Aslan, a phage biologist at the University of Illinois.

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