Atomic Structure of a Staphylococcal Bacteriophage Revealed Using Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Artistic representation of the Andhra phage structure. (Credit: UAB, Dokland Lab).

Cryo-electron microscopy by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers has exposed the structure of a bacterial virus with unprecedented detail. This is the first structure of a virus able to infect Staphylococcus epidermidis, and high-resolution knowledge of structure is a key link between viral biology and potential therapeutic use of the virus to quell bacterial infections. Bacteriophages or “phages” are the terms used for viruses that infect bacteria. The UAB researchers, led by Terje Dokland, PhD, in collaboration with Asma Hatoum-Aslan, PhD, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, have described atomic models for all or part of 11 different structural proteins in phage Andhra. The study was published on November 30, 2022 in Science Advances. The article is titled “Structure and Specificity of Staphylococcus epidermidis Bacteriophage Andhra.

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