, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 601-608
Date: 07 May 2010

Isolation and Characterization of Bacteriophages Infecting Staphylococcus epidermidis

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Bacteriophages infecting Staphylococcus epidermidis were isolated by mitomycin C induction. Three distinct phages (vB_SepiS-phiIPLA5, vB_SepiS-phiIPLA6, and vB_SepiS-phiIPLA7)—defined by plaque morphology, structure, virion proteins pattern, DNA restriction bands, and host range—were obtained. One-step growth curves of bacteriophages under optimal growth conditions for S. epidermidis F12 revealed eclipse and latent periods of 5–10 and 10–15 min, respectively, with burst sizes of about 5 to 30 PFU per infected cell. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the phages were of similar size and belonged to the Siphoviridae family. Phage phi-IPLA7 had the broadest host range infecting 21 out of 65 S. epidermidis isolates. Phage phi-IPLA5 seemed to be a virulent phage probably derived from phi-IPLA6. Phages phi-IPLA5 and phi-IPLA7 exhibited increasing plaques surrounded by a halo that could be indicative of a polysaccharide depolymerase activity. Viable counts, determined during the infection of S. epidermidis F12, confirmed that phi-IPLA5 had a potent lytic capability and reduced S. epidermidis population by 5.67 log units in 8 h of incubation; in the presence of the mixture of phi-IPLA6 and phi-IPLA7, however, a reduction of 2.27 log units was detected