- You are here:
- GT Home
"Phage-induced Lysis of Bacteria: Therapeutic Potential and Ecological Impacts"
Joshua Weitz, PhD
School of Biology
Viruses of bacteria, i.e., phages, are the most abundant life-forms on Earth. Phages infect host cells, redirect host machinery to replicate viral components, and eventually lyse their host cells thereby releasing new viral progeny. In this talk, I describe new discoveries related to the specific targeting of hosts by viruses. First, I will describe a novel biophysical theory of enzymatic lysis of bacteria caused by lytic enzymes, including highly specific phage lytic enzymes. The theory predicts the size tolerance of bacteria to holes created in their cell walls, suggesting new avenues for therapeutic treatment of Gram-positive pathogens. Next, I will report on efforts to characterize which phages infect and kill which bacteria in the environment. In revealing complex webs of infection and exploitation, I will also show first steps toward predicting the relative importance of viruses in modifying the flux of carbon and nutrients in the environment.