Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 37338376
Lien DOI – 10.1128/spectrum.04812-22
Microbiol Spectr 2023 Jun; (): e0481222
Klebsiella pneumoniae (Kp), a human gut colonizer and opportunistic pathogen, is a major contributor to the global burden of antimicrobial resistance. Virulent bacteriophages represent promising agents for decolonization and therapy. However, the majority of anti-Kp phages that have been isolated thus far are highly specific to unique capsular types (anti-K phages), which is a major limitation to phage therapy prospects due to the highly polymorphic capsule of Kp. Here, we report on an original anti-Kp phage isolation strategy, using capsule-deficient Kp mutants as hosts (anti-Kd phages). We show that anti-Kd phages have a broad host range, as the majority are able to infect noncapsulated mutants of multiple genetic sublineages and O-types. Additionally, anti-Kd phages induce a lower rate of resistance emergence in vitro and provide increased killing efficiency when in combination with anti-K phages. In vivo, anti-Kd phages are able to replicate in mouse guts colonized with a capsulated Kp strain, suggesting the presence of noncapsulated Kp subpopulations. The original strategy proposed here represents a promising avenue that circumvents the Kp capsule host restriction barrier, offering promise for therapeutic development. IMPORTANCE Klebsiella pneumoniae (Kp) is an ecologically generalist bacterium as well as an opportunistic pathogen that is responsible for hospital-acquired infections and a major contributor to the global burden of antimicrobial resistance. In the last decades, limited advances have been made in the use of virulent phages as alternatives or complements to antibiotics that are used to treat Kp infections. This work demonstrates the potential value of an anti-Klebsiella phage isolation strategy that addresses the issue of the narrow host range of anti-K phages. Anti-Kd phages may be active in infection sites in which capsule expression is intermittent or repressed or in combination with anti-K phages, which often induce the loss of capsule in escape mutants.