Genomic, morphological and functional characterisation of novel bacteriophage FNU1 capable of disrupting Fusobacterium nucleatum biofilms Academic Article uri icon


  • Fusobacterium nucleatum is an important oral bacterium that has been linked to the development of chronic diseases such as periodontitis and colorectal cancer. In periodontal disease, F. nucleatum forms the backbone of the polymicrobial biofilm and in colorectal cancer is implicated in aetiology, metastasis and chemotherapy resistance. The control of this bacteria may be important in assisting treatment of these diseases. With increased rates of antibiotic resistance globally, there is need for development of alternatives such as bacteriophages, which may complement existing therapies. Here we describe the morphology, genomics and functional characteristics of FNU1, a novel bacteriophage lytic against F. nucleatum. Transmission electron microscopy revealed FNU1 to be a large Siphoviridae virus with capsid diameter of 88 nm and tail of approximately 310 nm in length. Its genome was 130914 bp, with six tRNAs, and 8% of its ORFs encoding putative defence genes. FNU1 was able to kill cells within and significantly reduce F. nucleatum biofilm mass. The identification and characterisation of this bacteriophage will enable new possibilities for the treatment and prevention of F. nucleatum associated diseases to be explored.

publication date

  • 2019