Proteomic and transcriptomic analysis of Microviridae φX174 infection reveals broad upregulation of host Escherichia coli membrane damage and heat shock responses

Bradley W. Wright, Dominic Y. Logel, Mehdi Mirzai, Dana Pascovici, Mark P. Molloy, Paul R. Jaschke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Measuring host-bacteriophage dynamics is an important approach to understanding bacterial survival functions and responses to infection. The model Microviridae bacteriophage φX174 is endemic to the human gut and has been studied for over 70 years, but the host response to infection has never been investigated in detail. To address this gap in our understanding of this important interaction within our microbiome, we have measured host Escherichia coli C proteomic and transcriptomic response to φX174 infection. We used mass spectrometry and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to identify and quantify all 11 φX174 proteins and over 1,700 E. coli proteins, enabling us to comprehensively map host pathways involved in φX174 infection. Most notably, we see significant host responses centered on membrane damage and remodeling, cellular chaperone and translocon activity, and lipoprotein processing, which we speculate is due to the peptidoglycan-disruptive effects of the φX174 lysis protein E on MraY activity. We also observe the massive upregulation of small heat shock proteins IbpA/B, along with other heat shock pathway chaperones, and speculate on how the specific characteristics of holdase protein activity may be beneficial for viral infections. Together, this study enables us to begin to understand the proteomic and transcriptomic host responses of E. coli to Microviridae infections and contributes insights to the activities of this important model host-phage interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00046-21
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Bacteriophage
  • Chaperone
  • Chaperones
  • Gut microbiome
  • Lipoprotein
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Microbiome
  • RNA-seq
  • SHSP
  • Small heat shock proteins


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