Microbacterium Cluster EA Bacteriophages: Phylogenomic Relationships and Host Range Predictions

Mark Milhaven, Cyril J. Versoza, Aman Garg, Lindsey Cai, Sanjana Cherian, Kamalei Johnson, Kevin Salas Perez, Madison Blanco, Jackelyn Lobatos, Corinne Mitra, Maria Strasser, Susanne P. Pfeifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Bacteriophages are being widely harnessed as an alternative to antibiotics due to the global emergence of drug-resistant pathogens. To guide the usage of these bactericidal agents, characterization of their host specificity is vital—however, host range information remains limited for many bacteriophages. This is particularly the case for bacteriophages infecting the Microbacterium genus, despite their importance in agriculture, biomedicine, and biotechnology. Here, we elucidate the phylogenomic relationships between 125 Microbacterium cluster EA bacteriophages—including members from 11 sub-clusters (EA1 to EA11)—and infer their putative host ranges using insights from codon usage bias patterns as well as predictions from both exploratory and confirmatory computational methods. Our computational analyses suggest that cluster EA bacteriophages have a shared infection history across the Microbacterium clade. Interestingly, bacteriophages of all sub-clusters exhibit codon usage preference patterns that resemble those of bacterial strains different from ones used for isolation, suggesting that they might be able to infect additional hosts. Furthermore, host range predictions indicate that certain sub-clusters may be better suited in prospective biotechnological and medical applications such as phage therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number170
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • bacteriophage
  • cluster EA
  • comparative genomics
  • host range

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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