The Symbiotic Relationship Between a Bacteriophage and the Mucus Layer of a Metazoan Host

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The purpose of the study by Barr et al. is to investigate an assumed symbiotic relationship between a bacteriophage and the mucus layer of a metazoan host, which may create a defense against microbes to protect the mucus layers from bacterial infection. The mucus layer has about four times more phage than bacteria, which is seen in preliminary testing, and because phage encode hypervariable proteins that may aid in adsorption to bacteria prey, the phages may work to protect the mucus layer be adhering to the surface with the hoc protein found in the capsid of the T4 bacteriophage. The study hopes to explain the importance of the co-evolution between phages and the mucus layer by presenting evidence of their symbiotic relationship, which…show more content…
Second, the hoc protein found in the capsid of the T4 phage is only tested on agar plates. Although researchers are able to specify exactly what goes into the agar plate and the environment was replicated, the phage may react differently in the body due to other factors such as food consumption or medication usage. If this is true, the symbiotic relationship may still hold true, but there may be differences found on the mucus layers. Third, there may be other proteins that are involved in the phage that contribute to adherence to the mucus layer that were not uncovered in the study. Although the data seen from the hoc protein demonstrates that the hoc protein is involved based on the interaction between the mucin glycoproteins, the research is very specific to the hoc protein and there may be other proteins that are not found in the capsid that are involved in the defense mechanism.
The study is important to detect if there is a relationship between the amount of phages and the mucus layers in the body because this could help to fight infection from viruses. The information found from the study clearly displays the symbiotic relationship between the phage and the mucus layer of the metazoan host. However, the flow of the article is hard to follow and there are many different experiments briefly explained which could be expanded to help better connect all the experiments. Although the study shows that less bacteria adherence and more phage
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