The Proceedings of the BIRS Community


Phages are viruses that infect bacteria and use their host machinery to replicate. They are one of the most ubiquitous and diverse biological entities in the biosphere with a long evolutionary history. There is renewed interest in phage therapeutics due to increased levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and decreased numbers of newly developed antibiotics. Phages also have applications in food safety, water quality, biocontrol, vaccines, and the global nutrient cycle. Both bacteria and phages employ internal and external self-defense strategies to outcompete one another which in turn drives genomic evolution. While many phage genomes have been sequenced and annotated, proteomic and lipidomic profiles of phage have barely been explored especially in terms of infection stage and lysogeny. This review highlights the need for characterizing the phage-host relationship on an -omics level with the addition of tools such as machine learning. By further understanding the dynamic interplay between phages and their hosts, synthetic biology can be utilized to engineer new solutions to combat our current global health, agricultural, and environmental challenges.