Characterization of bacteriophages to be used prophylactically or therapeutically is mandatory, as use of uncharacterized bacteriophages is considered as one of the major reasons of failure of phage therapy in preantibiotic era. In the present study, one lytic bacteriophage, KPO1K2, specific for Klebsiella pneumoniae B5055, with broad host range was selected for characterization. As shown by TEM, morphologically KPO1K2 possessed icosahedral head with pentagonal nature with apex to apex head diameter of about 39 nm. Presence of short noncontractile tail (10 nm) suggested its inclusion into family Podoviridae with a designation of T7-like lytic bacteriophage. The phage growth cycle with a latent period of 15 min and a burst size of approximately 140 plaque forming units per infected cell as well as a genome of 42 kbps and structural protein pattern of this bacteriophage further confirmed its T7-like characteristics. Phage was stable over a wide pH range of 4-11 and demonstrated maximum activity at 37°C. After injection into mice, at 6 h, a high phage titer was seen in blood as well as in kidney and urinary bladder, though titers in kidney and urinary bladder were higher as compared to blood. Phage got cleared completely in 36 h from blood while from kidneys and urinary bladder its clearance was delayed. We propose the use of this characterized phage, KPO1K2, as a prophylactic/therapeutic agent especially for the treatment of catheter associated UTI caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). We also thank Dr. Rupinder Tiwari for the facilities used in his laboratory pertaining to restriction digestion experiments.