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Keywords:

  • phage characterisation;
  • host specificity;
  • antimicrobial resistance

Abstract

Campylobacter-specific bacteriophages (phages) are considered as an alternative intervention strategy to decrease the level of poultry contamination with Campylobacter, a leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide. Eradication efficiency depends primarily on phage-host interaction mediated by phage tail-spike proteins and bacterial receptors. Here, this interaction was characterised using tail-spike gene sequence analysis, phage neutralisation by antiserum and host range analysis of newly isolated group III Campylobacter phages with 68 Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains. Three different groups of phages were obtained using antibody neutralisation assay, and they were further divided according to polymorphisms observed within tail fibre sequences and host range. Only moderate congruence was observed between these criteria with notable exception of two phages. The infection relied on capsule in all phages isolated, and flagella were found to influence phage propagation on agar plates, but not in broth. Their specificity was more C. jejuni oriented with tendency to lyse human isolates more efficiently. Additionally, natural resistance of C. jejuni to phages did not correlate with their antibiotic resistance patterns. These findings provide new insights into Campylobacter–phage interaction.