Research / Interactions Bacteriophages-Bacteria in Animals

Bacteriophages-Bacteria Interactions in Animals

Laurent Debarbieux
Since their discovery in the early twentieth century, researchers exploited bacteriophages (viruses that infect only bacteria). First, bacteriophages were used to fight against bacteria, and then used as models for studying basic cellular mechanisms (replication, transcription, regulation ...), and more recently, as tools in biotechnology. All studies on bacteriophages has led to the birth and development of molecular biology, which is part of everyday life for almost all researchers in Biology (for details, see History).

However, in a surprising manner bacteriophages have been little studied in their natural environments. If the aquatic environment is an area where the virus / host have been recently updated, the animal remains largely unexplored. It is in this context that we initiated research aimed at exploring the relationships bacteriophages / bacteria. These studies should enable us to better understand the use of bacteriophages to fight infectious bacteria. Curiously, the therapeutic application of bacteriophages (called phage therapy) was discovered by Felix d’Herelle early twentieth century at the Institut Pasteur (for more details on Félix d’Herelle, see History).

Our group has recently initiated this work focusing on two models reflecting two different situations: a model of lung infection and a model of intestinal colonization.