Princeton molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler and graduate student Justin Silpe have identified a virus, VP882, that can listen in on bacterial conversations - and then they found a way to use that to make it attack bacterial diseases like E. coli and cholera.
The key points of the article*:
- A phage encodes a quorum-sensing receptor that detects a host-produced autoinducer
- Phage detection of the autoinducer controls the phage lytic-lysogeny fate switch
- A new phage protein, Qtip, sequesters and inactivates the phage cI repressor
- Recombinant phages are engineered to execute lysis in response to user-defined cues
* Silpe JE and Bassler BL. A Host-Produced Quorum-Sensing Autoinducer Controls a Phage Lysis-Lysogeny Decision // Cell, Published: December 13, 2018. DOI: 10.1016 / j.cell.2018.10.059