Myoviridae phage PDX kills enteroaggregative Escherichia coli without human microbiome dysbiosis

Leah C.S. Cepko, Eliotte E. Garling, Madeline J. Dinsdale, William P. Scott, Loralee Bandy, Tim Nice, Joshua Faber-Hammond, Jay L. Mellies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction. Bacteriophage therapy can be developed to target emerging diarrhoeal pathogens, but doing so in the absence of microbiome disruption, which occurs with antibiotic treatment, has not been established. Aim. Identify a therapeutic bacteriophage that kills diarrhoeagenic enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) while leaving the human microbiome intact. Methodology. Phages from wastewater in Portland, OR, USA were screened for bacteriolytic activity by overlay assay. One isolated phage, PDX, was classified by electron microscopy and genome sequencing. A mouse model of infection determined whether the phage was therapeutic against EAEC. 16S metagenomic analysis of anaerobic cultures determined whether a normal human microbiome was altered by treatment. Results. Escherichia virus PDX, a member of the strictly lytic family Myoviridae, killed a case-associated EAEC isolate from a child in rural Tennessee in a dose-dependent manner, and killed EAEC isolates from Columbian children. A single dose of PDX (multiplicity of infection: 100) 1 day post-infection reduced EAEC recovered from mouse faeces. PDX also killed EAEC when cultured anaerobically in the presence of human faecal bacteria. While the addition of EAEC reduced the β-diversity of the human microbiota, that of the cultures with either faeces alone, faeces with EAEC and PDX, or with just PDX phage was not different statistically. Conclusion. PDX killed EAEC isolate EN1E-0007 in vivo and in vitro, while not altering the diversity of normal human microbiota in anaerobic culture, and thus could be part of an effective therapy for children in developing countries and those suffering from EAEC-mediated traveller's diarrhoea without causing dysbiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-323
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Antibiotic alternatives
  • Dysbiosis
  • EAEC
  • Escherichia virus
  • Myoviridae
  • Phage therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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