Author(s): Lu TK, Collins JJ
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Synthetic biology involves the engineering of biological organisms by using modular and generalizable designs with the ultimate goal of developing useful solutions to real-world problems. One such problem involves bacterial biofilms, which are crucial in the pathogenesis of many clinically important infections and are difficult to eradicate because they exhibit resistance to antimicrobial treatments and removal by host immune systems. To address this issue, we engineered bacteriophage to express a biofilm-degrading enzyme during infection to simultaneously attack the bacterial cells in the biofilm and the biofilm matrix, which is composed of extracellular polymeric substances. We show that the efficacy of biofilm removal by this two-pronged enzymatic bacteriophage strategy is significantly greater than that of nonenzymatic bacteriophage treatment. Our engineered enzymatic phage substantially reduced bacterial biofilm cell counts by approximately 4.5 orders of magnitude ( approximately 99.997\% removal), which was about two orders of magnitude better than that of nonenzymatic phage. This work demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of using engineered enzymatic bacteriophage to reduce bacterial biofilms and the applicability of synthetic biology to an important medical and industrial problem.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology