Staphylococcus aureus is a major agent of nosocomial infections. Especially in methicillin-resistant strains, conventional treatment options are limited and expensive, which has fueled a growing interest in phage therapy approaches. We have tested the susceptibility of 207 clinical S. aureus strains to 12 (nine monovalent) different therapeutic phage preparations and subsequently employed linear regression models to estimate the influence of individual host gene families on resistance to phages. Specifically, we used a two-step regression model setup with a preselection step based on gene family enrichment. We show that our models are robust and capture the data’s underlying signal by comparing their performance to that of models build on randomized data. In doing so, we have identified 167 gene families that govern phage resistance in our strain set and performed functional analysis on them. This revealed genes of possible prophage or mobile genetic element origin, along with genes involved in restriction-modification and transcription regulators, though the majority were genes of unknown function. This study is a step in the direction of understanding the intricate host-phage relationship in this important pathogen with the outlook to targeted phage therapy applications.
Bibliographical note© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Phage therapy
- Bacterial phage resistance
- Regression modeling