Faculty Advisor

Richard Alvey

Graduation Year

2021

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

21-4-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

21-4-2018 10:00 AM

Description

Phages are a class of viruses that specialize in the infection of bacterial cells. The purpose of the research is to locate and discover new phages to gain a better understanding of the vastly unknown area of microbiology. We began our research by first hunting for phages. They were amplified using sample enrichment, had their DNA extracted, then had their genome sequenced. In order to group the phages into clusters of known type, we utilized tests such as: transmission electron microscopy (TEM), lysogen testing, and host range testing. Our research focused on the isolation and sequencing of a cluster D phage known as Pacific. Pacific was isolated from a small creek in Mahomet, IL. TEM analysis revealed Pacific’s structure and determined that it is a Siphoviridae (DNA filled capsid with a long, noncontractile, thin tail, which is often flexible). Then we used lysogen testing where we tested Pacific against past lysogens (bacterial cells with phage DNA incorporated into its genome) to see if it was related to any known phages. Tests showed that Pacific did have phages that were related to it because they were unable to infect Pacific’s lysogen. Pacific was unique in its ability to form a lysogen that phages in the C and D cluster were unable to infect. Pacific is the first phage of its type that is able to perform this function. Lastly, we used host range testing to determine the number of hosts Pacific could infect. By annotating and publishing Pacific’s genome, scientists are able to utilize it in order to better understand overall phage development and evolution.

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 21st, 10:00 AM

Making Waves in Phage Research: Pacific’s Journey through Discovery, Experimentation, and Clustering

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Phages are a class of viruses that specialize in the infection of bacterial cells. The purpose of the research is to locate and discover new phages to gain a better understanding of the vastly unknown area of microbiology. We began our research by first hunting for phages. They were amplified using sample enrichment, had their DNA extracted, then had their genome sequenced. In order to group the phages into clusters of known type, we utilized tests such as: transmission electron microscopy (TEM), lysogen testing, and host range testing. Our research focused on the isolation and sequencing of a cluster D phage known as Pacific. Pacific was isolated from a small creek in Mahomet, IL. TEM analysis revealed Pacific’s structure and determined that it is a Siphoviridae (DNA filled capsid with a long, noncontractile, thin tail, which is often flexible). Then we used lysogen testing where we tested Pacific against past lysogens (bacterial cells with phage DNA incorporated into its genome) to see if it was related to any known phages. Tests showed that Pacific did have phages that were related to it because they were unable to infect Pacific’s lysogen. Pacific was unique in its ability to form a lysogen that phages in the C and D cluster were unable to infect. Pacific is the first phage of its type that is able to perform this function. Lastly, we used host range testing to determine the number of hosts Pacific could infect. By annotating and publishing Pacific’s genome, scientists are able to utilize it in order to better understand overall phage development and evolution.