[Frontiers in Bioscience 14, 1661-1683, January 1, 2009]

Bacteriophages of Lactobacillus

Manuela Villion1,2, Sylvain Moineau1,2,3

1Departement de biochimie et de microbiologie, Faculte des sciences et de genie, 2Groupe de recherche en ecologie buccale, Faculte de medecine dentaire, 3 Felix d'Herelle Reference Center for Bacterial Viruses, Universite Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, G1V 0A6


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
2.1. Lactobacillus species
2.2. Lactobacillus phages
3. Lactobacillus phage overview
3.1. Habitats
3.2. Morphology
3.2.1. Myoviridae family
3.2.2. Siphoviridae family
4. Lactobacillus phage models
4.1. Lactobacillus delbrueckii phages
4.1.1.LL-H and others
4.2. Lactobacillus casei phages
4.2.1. A2
4.2.2. phiAT3
4.3. Lactobacillus rhamnosus phage Lc-Nu
4.4. Lactobacillus plantarum phages
4.4.1. phig1e
4.4.2. phiJL-1
4.4.3. LP65
4.4.4. Y1
4.5. Lactobacillus gasseri phage phiadh
4.6. Lactobacillus crispatus phage kc5a
5. Lactobacillus prophages
5.1. Lysogenic conversion genes
6. Other characteristics of Lactobacillus phages
6.1. Comparative genome analyses
6.2. Identification of receptors
6.3. Endolysins studies
6.4. Genetic tools developed from Lactobacillus phages
7. Towards a specific classification scheme for Lactobacillus phages
8. Outlook
9. Acknowledgements
10. References


In this review, we are listing Lactobacillus phages that have been reported in peer-reviewed articles published since 1960. Putative phages that are defective or have not been shown to be infectious, such as phage-like particles, are not discussed. Our literature searches led to the identification of 231 Lactobacillus phages, 186 of which have been observed by electron microscopy, with 109 belonging to the Siphoviridae family, 76 to the Myoviridae family, and 1 to the Podoviridae family. Model phages infecting Lb delbrueckii, casei, rhamnosus, plantarum, and gasseri are highlighted, as well as prophages of Lactobacillus hosts. To date, nine complete Lactobacillus phage genomes are available for comparisons and evolution studies. Features such as phage receptors and endolysins are also reviewed, as well as phage-derived genetic tools. Lactobacillus phage research has progressed significantly over the past decade but a thorough understanding of their biology is still lacking. Because of the risks they represent and the knowledge gaps that need to be filled, the outlook for research on Lactobacillus phages is bright.