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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Gleason and Dr. Pillay

Abstract

Mycobacteriophage are a diverse set of viruses that infect a broad host range of mycobacterium. Genome analysis of this phage group reveals its diversity and provides evidence that they have experienced substantial horizontal gene transfer Collectively they have a large range of host bacteria they can infect, although each viral type may have a limited host range. However, this range is easily expanded and constantly changing in nature by mutation within and between virus types. These phages can lytically destroy their host mycobacteria, and it is this viral ability that have many mycobacteriophage researchers excited about the potential that phage have as new antibacterial medical therapies. As such research progresses, new roads to potential antibacterial groups of phage have pointed to certain clusters of mycobacteriophage, particularly Cluster K to overcome Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. One road may be the isolation of certain virulence genes in this promising cluster and to recombine them by genetic engineering to create an even more virulent phasmid that could be introduced into the bacteria ecosystem that plague humanity with tuberculosis or other mycobacterial diseases. Coupled with the increasing antibiotic resistance in these deadly bacterial pathogens, the potential of mycobacteriophage to eradicate these bacteria diseases make continued research and experimentation on this group highly attractive.

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Virology Commons

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