Bacteriophages (phages) use specialized tail machinery to deliver proteins and genetic material into a bacterial cell during infection. Attached at the distal ends of their tails are receptor binding proteins (RBPs) that recognize specific molecules exposed on host bacteria surfaces. Since the therapeutic capacity of naturally occurring phages is often limited by narrow host ranges, there is significant interest in expanding their host range via directed evolution or structure-guided engineering of their RBPs. Here, we describe the design principles of different RBP engineering platforms and draw attention to the mechanisms linking RBP binding and the correct spatial and temporal attachment of the phage to the bacterial surface. A deeper understanding of these mechanisms will directly benefit future engineering of more effective phage-based therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering