• Investigation of Salmonella Phage–Bacteria Infection Profiles: Network Structure Reveals a Gradient of Target-Range from Generalist to Specialist Phage Clones in Nested Subsets

      Makalatia, Khatuna; email: k.makalatia@gmail.com; Kakabadze, Elene; orcid: 0000-0001-8496-7849; email: elene.kakabadze@pha.ge; Bakuradze, Nata; email: nata.bakuradze@pha.ge; Grdzelishvili, Nino; email: n.grdzelishvili@pha.ge; Stamp, Ben; email: b.stamp.1@research.gla.ac.uk; Herman, Ezra; orcid: 0000-0002-5619-5244; email: elh605@york.ac.uk; Tapinos, Avraam; email: avraam.tapinos@manchester.ac.uk; Coffey, Aidan; orcid: 0000-0003-4116-9913; email: aidan.coffey@cit.ie; Lee, David; email: david.lee@mycit.ie; Papadopoulos, Nikolaos G.; orcid: 0000-0002-4448-3468; email: nikolaos.papadopoulos@manchester.ac.uk; et al. (MDPI, 2021-06-28)
      Bacteriophages that lyse Salmonella enterica are potential tools to target and control Salmonella infections. Investigating the host range of Salmonella phages is a key to understand their impact on bacterial ecology, coevolution and inform their use in intervention strategies. Virus–host infection networks have been used to characterize the “predator–prey” interactions between phages and bacteria and provide insights into host range and specificity. Here, we characterize the target-range and infection profiles of 13 Salmonella phage clones against a diverse set of 141 Salmonella strains. The environmental source and taxonomy contributed to the observed infection profiles, and genetically proximal phages shared similar infection profiles. Using in vitro infection data, we analyzed the structure of the Salmonella phage–bacteria infection network. The network has a non-random nested organization and weak modularity suggesting a gradient of target-range from generalist to specialist species with nested subsets, which are also observed within and across the different phage infection profile groups. Our results have implications for our understanding of the coevolutionary mechanisms shaping the ecological interactions between Salmonella phages and their bacterial hosts and can inform strategies for targeting Salmonella enterica with specific phage preparations.