Analysis of bacteriophage-host interaction by Raman tweezers
in: Analytical Chemistry (2020)
Bacteriophages, or “phages” for short, are viruses that replicate in bacteria. The therapeutic and biotechnological potential of phages and their lytic enzymes is of interest for their ability to selectively destroy pathogenic bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains. Introduction of phage preparations into medicine, biotechnology, and food industry requires a thorough characterization of phage−host interaction on a molecular level. We employed Raman tweezers to analyze the phage−host interaction of Staphylococcus aureus strain FS159 with a virulent phage JK2 (=812K1/420) of the Myoviridae family and a temperate phage 80α of the Siphoviridae family. We analyzed the timeline of phage-induced molecular changes in infected host cells. We reliably detected the presence of replicating phages in bacterial cells within 5 min after infection. Our results lay the foundations for building a Raman-based diagnostic instrument capable of real-time, in vivo, in situ, nondestructive characterization of the phage−host relationship on the level of individual cells, which has the potential of importantly contributing to the development of phage therapy and enzybiotics.