Bacteriophages represent a promising option for the treatment of Clostridioides difficile (formerly Clostridium difficile) infection (CDI), which at present relies on conventional antibiotic therapy. The specificity of bacteriophages should prevent dysbiosis of the colonic microbiota associated with antibiotic treatment of CDI. While numerous phages have been isolated, none have been characterized with broad host range activity toward PCR ribotype (RT) 078 strains, despite their relevance to medicine and agriculture. In this study, we isolated four novel C. difficile myoviruses: ΦCD08011, ΦCD418, ΦCD1801, and ΦCD2301. Their characterization revealed that each was comparable with other C. difficile phages described in the literature, with the exception of ΦCD1801, which exhibited broad host range activity toward RT 078, infecting 15/16 (93.8%) of the isolates tested. In order for wild-type phages to be exploited in the effective treatment of CDI, an optimal phage cocktail must be assembled that provides broad coverage against all C. difficile RTs. We conducted experiments to support previous findings suggesting that SlpA, a constituent of the C. difficile surface layer (S-layer) is the likely phage receptor. Through interpretation of phage-binding assays, our data suggested that ΦCD1801 could bind to an RT 012 strain only in the presence of a plasmid-borne S-layer cassette corresponding to the slpA allele found in RT 078. Armed with this information, efforts should be directed toward the isolation of phages with broad host range activity toward defined S-layer cassette types, which could form the basis of an effective phage cocktail for the treatment of CDI.
- Clostridioides difficile (Clostridium difficile)
- phage receptor
- phage therapy