22 janvier 2024

Phage-inducible chromosomal minimalist islands (PICMIs), a novel family of small marine satellites of virulent phages.

Exciting news! We are thrilled to share our inaugural paper introducing the PICMI family—a minimalist type of phage satellites prevalent among the Vibrionaceae 🎉 [Link to the paper:]. Our research focuses on unraveling the essential functions required for hijacking a tailed phage. PICMIs stand out for their streamlined gene content, absence of capsid remodeling genes, and a unique DNA packaging mechanism involving concatemers.

Remarkably, PICMI exhibits efficient transduction by a virulent phage, challenging the conventional belief that only virulent phages can be utilized in therapy. Furthermore, PICMI safeguards its host from competitive phages without impeding their helper phage. Concurrently, our investigation has unveiled a novel defense system encoded by the satellite, demonstrating a remarkably narrow phage range of activity. This underscores the significance of leveraging collections from natural populations to enhance the relevance and applicability of anti-phage defense discovery.

Regarding the student authors from this article:

  • Rubén dedicated two years of his PhD to our lab at the Station Biologique de Roscoff (2020-2022), supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Following a year as a trainee at the Biological Hazards Unit of EFSA in Parma, Italy, he secured a permanent position at the Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments in Paris.
  • Damien completed his PhD and an additional postdoc year in our lab at the Station Biologique de Roscoff (2016-2021), with funding from the region Bretagne, Ifremer, and the ANR. He secured a position at Pherecydes Pharma, a company dedicated to developing phage therapy for human diseases (2022-24). Recently, Damien was hired by Alexander Harms at ETH Zurich and will commence his postdoc position in March 2024.