Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Identification and characterization of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophage

Rachel Persinger


Growing antibiotic resistance of the human pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has become a great concern in healthcare as many current treatment options are being exhausted. Thus, an interest in phage therapy has developed as a possible treatment to alleviate this problem. In this study, bacteriophages that infect P. aeruginosa were isolated and analyzed. Two methods of discovery were used to isolate potential phages using P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. A direct method used environmental samples to test for infection of one of four P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. As a result, one clinical isolate-infecting phage was found. It was sequenced and named “Persinger.” Its genome is 44,033 bp and includes 64 predicted genes. Twenty-six of these could be assigned a function. There is one tRNA encoded in the genome. Previously discovered phages isolated on P. putida were tested them for their ability to infect P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. Additionally, we attempted to extend the host range of the P. putida phages by exposing them to UV irradiation following P. aeruginosa infection. Although no P. putida phages were able to infect the clinical isolates, the finding of a P. aeruginosa phage that infects one of the clinical isolates is an important contribution.