X216, a P2-like bacteriophage with broad Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei strain infectivity

Brian H. Kvitko, Christopher R. Cox, David Deshazer, Shannon L. Johnson, Kent J. Voorhees, Herbert P. Schweizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei are closely related Category B Select Agents of bioterrorism and the causative agents of the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Rapid phage-based diagnostic tools would greatly benefit early recognition and treatment of these diseases. There is extensive strain-to-strain variation in B. pseudomallei genome content due in part to the presence or absence of integrated prophages. Several phages have previously been isolated from B. pseudomallei lysogens, for example K96243, 1026b and 52237. Results: We have isolated a P2-like bacteriophage, X216, which infects 78% of all B. pseudomallei strains tested. X216 also infects B. mallei, but not other Burkholderia species, including the closely related B. thailandensis and B. oklahomensis. The nature of the X216 host receptor remains unclear but evidence indicates that in B. mallei X216 uses lipopolysaccharide O-antigen but a different receptor in B. pseudomallei. The 37,637 bp genome of X216 encodes 47 predicted open reading frames and shares 99.8% pairwise identity and an identical strain host range with bacteriophage 52237. Closely related P2-like prophages appear to be widely distributed among B. pseudomallei strains but both X216 and 52237 readily infect prophage carrying strains. Conclusions: The broad strain infectivity and high specificity for B. pseudomallei and B. mallei indicate that X216 will provide a good platform for the development of phage-based diagnostics for these bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number289
JournalBMC microbiology
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • B. mallei
  • Bacteriophage
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • P2
  • Phage-based diagnostics
  • Prophage distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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