Host interactions of novel Crassvirales species belonging to multiple families infecting bacterial host, Bacteroides cellulosilyticus WH2

Bhavya Papudeshi, Alejandro A. Vega, Cole Souza, Sarah K. Giles, Vijini Mallawaarachchi, Michael J. Roach, Michelle An, Nicole Jacobson, Katelyn McNair, Maria Fernanda Mora, Karina Pastrana, Lance Boling, Christopher Leigh, Clarice Harker, Will S. Plewa, Susanna R. Grigson, George Bouras, Przemysław Decewicz, Antoni Luque, Lindsay DroitScott A. Handley, David Wang, Anca M. Segall, Elizabeth A. Dinsdale, Robert A. Edwards

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Bacteroides, the prominent bacteria in the human gut, play a crucial role in degrading complex polysaccharides. Their abundance is influenced by phages belonging to the Crassvirales order. Despite identifying over 600 Crassvirales genomes computationally, only few have been successfully isolated. Continued efforts in isolation of more Crassvirales genomes can provide insights into phage-host-evolution and infection mechanisms. We focused on wastewater samples, as potential sources of phages infecting various Bacteroides hosts. Sequencing, assembly, and characterization of isolated phages revealed 14 complete genomes belonging to three novel Crassvirales species infecting Bacteroides cellulosilyticus WH2. These species, Kehishuvirus sp. 'tikkala' strain Bc01, Kolpuevirus sp. 'frurule' strain Bc03, and 'Rudgehvirus jaberico' strain Bc11, spanned two families, and three genera, displaying a broad range of virion productions. Upon testing all successfully cultured Crassvirales species and their respective bacterial hosts, we discovered that they do not exhibit co-evolutionary patterns with their bacterial hosts. Furthermore, we observed variations in gene similarity, with greater shared similarity observed within genera. However, despite belonging to different genera, the three novel species shared a unique structural gene that encodes the tail spike protein. When investigating the relationship between this gene and host interaction, we discovered evidence of purifying selection, indicating its functional importance. Moreover, our analysis demonstrated that this tail spike protein binds to the TonB-dependent receptors present on the bacterial host surface. Combining these observations, our findings provide insights into phage-host interactions and present three Crassvirales species as an ideal system for controlled infectivity experiments on one of the most dominant members of the human enteric virome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001100
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2023


  • co-evolution
  • Crassvirales
  • phage-host-interaction
  • purifying selection
  • tail spike protein
  • TonB-depdenent receptors
  • wastewater


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