Diversity patterns of bacteriophages infecting Aggregatibacter and Haemophilus species across clades and niches.


Department of Prosthetic Dentistry and Biomedical Materials Science, Hannover Medical School (MHH), Hannover, Germany. [Email]


Aggregatibacter and Haemophilus species are relevant human commensals and opportunistic pathogens. Consequently, their bacteriophages may have significant impact on human microbial ecology and pathologies. Our aim was to reveal the prevalence and diversity of bacteriophages infecting Aggregatibacter and Haemophilus species that colonize the human body. Genome mining with comparative genomics, screening of clinical isolates, and profiling of metagenomes allowed characterization of 346 phages grouped in 52 clusters and 18 superclusters. Less than 10% of the identified phage clusters were represented by previously characterized phages. Prophage diversity patterns varied significantly for different phage types, host clades, and environmental niches. A more diverse phage community lysogenizes Haemophilus influenzae and Haemophilus parainfluenzae strains than Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and "Haemophilus ducreyi". Co-infections occurred more often in "H. ducreyi". Phages from Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans preferably lysogenized strains of specific serotype. Prophage patterns shared by subspecies clades of different bacterial species suggest similar ecoevolutionary drivers. Changes in frequencies of DNA uptake signal sequences and guanine-cytosine content reflect phage-host long-term coevolution. Aggregatibacter and Haemophilus phages were prevalent at multiple oral sites. Together, these findings should help exploring the ecoevolutionary forces shaping virus-host interactions in the human microbiome. Putative lytic phages, especially phiKZ-like, may provide new therapeutic options.