The Outer Membrane Cytochrome OmcA Is Essential for Infection of Shewanella oneidensis by a Zebrafish-Associated Bacteriophage

Andrew W. Grenfell, Peter J. Intile, John A. McFarlane, Dani C. Leung, Khalid Abdalla, Michael C. Wold, Eric D. Kees, Jeffrey A. Gralnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The microbiota—the mixture of microorganisms in the intestinal tract of animals—plays an important role in host biology. Bacteriophages are a prominent, though often overlooked, component of the microbiota. The mechanisms that phage use to infect susceptible cells associated with animal hosts, and the broader role they could play in determining the substituents of the microbiota, are poorly understood. In this study, we isolated a zebrafish-associated bacteriophage, which we named Shewanella phage FishSpeaker. This phage infects Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1, which cannot colonize zebrafish, but it is unable to infect Shewanella xiamenensis strain FH-1, a strain isolated from the zebrafish gut. Our data suggest that FishSpeaker uses the outer membrane decaheme cytochrome OmcA, which is an accessory component of the extracellular electron transfer (EET) pathway in S. oneidensis, as well as the flagellum to recognize and infect susceptible cells. In a zebrafish colony that lacks detectable FishSpeaker, we found that most Shewanella spp. are sensitive to infection and that some strains are resistant to infection. Our results suggest that phage could act as a selectivity filter for zebrafish-associated Shewanella and show that the EET machinery can be targeted by phage in the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • OmcA
  • Shewanella phage FishSpeaker
  • bacteriophage
  • extracellular electron transfer

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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