Cristina Howard-Varona’s paper on phage infection efficiency featured in EMSL!

Phage-host Interactions are More Complicated than most Laboratory Studies Suggest

Molecular studies shed light on how viruses infect bacteria in nature

“For years, scientists have experimented with phages—the viruses that infect bacteria—to learn how they change their host. Because such studies are difficult to accomplish in the wild, most have focused on viruses and host cells tailored for laboratory experiments. Now a team of scientists departs from these “optimal” laboratory-suitable viruses to study the molecular response when bacteria and phages interact in nature, where phages do not always encounter the perfect host.”

“Phage research has helped identify DNA as the hereditary material and described the nature of gene expression in microbes, but studies of interactions are largely limited to laboratory studies featuring optimal infection conditions. Broadening the understanding of how efficiently phages infect a host in nature can help scientists develop better ecosystem models, devise more sustainable biotechnology, and improve human health.”