Improved Adsorption of an Enterococcus faecalis Bacteriophage ΦEF24C with a Spontaneous Point Mutation

Some bacterial strains of the multidrug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria Enterococcus faecalis can significantly reduce the efficacy of conventional antimicrobial chemotherapy. Thus, the introduction of bacteriophage (phage) therapy is expected, where a phage is used as a bioagent to destroy bacteria. E. faecalis phage ΦEF24C is known to be a good candidate for a therapeutic phage against E. faecalis. However, this therapeutic phage still produces nonuniform antimicrobial effects with different bacterial strains of the same species and this might prove detrimental to its therapeutic effects. One solution to this problem is the preparation of mutant phages with higher activity, based on a scientific rationale. This study isolated and analyzed a spontaneous mutant phage, ΦEF24C-P2, which exhibited higher infectivity against various bacterial strains when compared with phage ΦEF24C. First, the improved bactericidal effects of phage ΦEF24C-P2 were attributable to its increased adsorption rate. Moreover, genomic sequence scanning revealed that phage ΦEF24C-P2 had a point mutation in orf31. Proteomic analysis showed that ORF31 (mw, 203 kDa) was present in structural components, and immunological analysis using rabbit-derived antibodies showed that it was a component of a long, flexible fine tail fiber extending from the tail end. Finally, phage ΦEF24C-P2 also showed higher bactericidal activity in human blood compared with phage ΦEF24C using the in vitro assay system. In conclusion, the therapeutic effects of phage ΦEF24C-P2 were improved by a point mutation in gene orf31, which encoded a tail fiber component.