Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Bacteriophage Ecology Group Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Destructive Infection


Phage-bacterial interaction in which the phage is inactivated.

That is, a "phage" destructive infection, one in which the phage does not survive (versus necessarily also a bacterium-destructive infection). Destructive infection thus is one that is neither productive nor reductive.

In general terms, destructive infections can be distinguished in terms of how far into the infection phage propagation is halted – ranging from soon after attachment to otherwise lacking in successful virion maturation – as well as whether a resistance mechanism is involved versus simply some genetic or physiological inadequacy on the part of the host bacteria. Destructive infections also can be distinguished in terms of whether a resistance mechanism is bacterial or plasmid encoded versus phage encoded. In the latter case it would be an already infecting phage, that is, a primary phage, that is effecting the resistance mechanism. Destructive infections additionally can be distinguished in terms of whether or not the host ides in the course of phage loss.

Phage-destructive infections include those mediated by restriction endonucleases, resulting in a "restricted" infection this is phage but not bacterial destructive. Abortive infections tend to be phage as well as bacterial destructive, though only so long as the mechanism gives rise to substantial reductions in efficiency of center of infection (ECOI). CRISPR-associated mechanisms can give rise to either result, that is, bacterial survival or, instead, bacterial loss.

Strictly phage-mediated mechanisms that give rise to destructive infections include those that result in superinfection exclusion or, instead, superinfection immunity. See also the concept simply of superinfection.


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