It is increasingly apparent that bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria and more commonly referred to as simply phages, have tropisms outside their bacterial hosts. Using live tissue culture cell imaging, we demonstrate that cell type, phage size, and morphology play a major role in phage internalization. Uptake was validated under physiological conditions using a microfluidic device. Phages adhered to mammalian tissues, with adherent phages being subsequently internalized by macropinocytosis, with functional phages accumulating intracellularly. We incorporated these results into a pharmacokinetic model demonstrating the potential impact of phage accumulation by cell layers, which represents a potential sink for circulating phages in the body. During phage therapy, high doses of phages are directly administered to a patient in order to treat a bacterial infection, thereby facilitating broad interactions between phages and mammalian cells. Understanding these interactions will have important implications on innate immune responses, phage pharmacokinetics, and the efficacy of phage therapy.
Sean Langelier (Manager)Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure)
Ian Harper (Manager), Stephen Firth (Manager), Alex Fulcher (Operator), Oleks Chernyavskiy (Operator), Margaret Rzeszutek (Other), David Potter (Manager), Volker Hilsenstein (Operator), Juan Nunez-Iglesias (Other), Stephen Cody (Manager), Irena Carmichael (Operator), Betty Kouskousis (Other), Chad Johnson (Operator), Sarah Creed (Manager) & Giulia Ballerin (Operator)Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure)