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Bacteriophage functional genomics and its role in bacterial pathogen detection

Bacteriophage functional genomics and its role in bacterial pathogen detection

Briefings in Functional Genomics 12(4): 354-365

Emerging and reemerging bacterial infectious diseases are a major public health concern worldwide. The role of bacteriophages in the emergence of novel bacterial pathogens by horizontal gene transfer was highlighted by the May 2011 Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreaks that originated in Germany and spread to other European countries. This outbreak also highlighted the pivotal role played by recent advances in functional genomics in rapidly deciphering the virulence mechanism elicited by this novel pathogen and developing rapid diagnostics and therapeutics. However, despite a steady increase in the number of phage sequences in the public databases, boosted by the next-generation sequencing technologies, few functional genomics studies of bacteriophages have been conducted. Our definition of 'functional genomics' encompasses a range of aspects: phage genome sequencing, annotation and ascribing functions to phage genes, prophage identification in bacterial sequences, elucidating the events in various stages of phage life cycle using genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches, defining the mechanisms of host takeover including specific bacterial-phage protein interactions and identifying virulence and other adaptive features encoded by phages and finally, using prophage genomic information for bacterial detection/diagnostics. Given the breadth and depth of this definition and the fact that some of these aspects (especially phage-encoded virulence/adaptive features) have been treated extensively in other reviews, we restrict our focus only on certain aspects. These include phage genome sequencing and annotation, identification of prophages in bacterial sequences and genetic characterization of phages, functional genomics of the infection process and finally, bacterial identification using genomic information.

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Accession: 036819751

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23520178

DOI: 10.1093/bfgp/elt009

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