Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Bacteriophage Ecology Group Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Adsorption Resistance


Bacteria-mediated inhibition of phage attack that stems from mechanisms that interfere with phage attachment.

Adsorption resistance can result from phage-encounter blocks or barriers (e.g., capsules) as well as receptor modification or loss, with the latter also referred to as envelope resistance or surface exclusion. See also nonreceptive bacterium.

The most commonly observed form of bacterial resistance to phages is adsorption resistance, typically due to an absence from the surface of the bacterium of receptor molecules required by the phage. Such resistance occurs not just because bacteria lose these molecules to mutation or other means but instead because most bacteria simply lack and effective always have lacked whatever receptor a phage employs for adsorption. The result is that phage host ranges tend to be fairly narrow though those phage with particularly wide host ranges either employ receptors that are fairly commonly found among bacteria or, alternatively, can use more than one receptor for adsorption.


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