Bacteriophages presence in nature and their role in the natural selection of bacterial populations

Bacteriophages presence in nature and their role in the natural selection of bacterial populations


  • Zakira Naureen Department of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Nizwa, Nizwa, Oman
  • Astrit Dautaj EBTNA-LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy
  • Kyrylo Anpilogov MAGI EUREGIO, Bolzano, Italy
  • Giorgio Camilleri MAGI’S LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy
  • Kristjana Dhuli EBTNA-LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy
  • Benedetta Tanzi MAGI'S LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy
  • Paolo Enrico Maltese MAGI'S LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy
  • Francesca Cristofoli MAGI EUREGIO, Bolzano, Italy
  • Luca De Antoni MAGI EUREGIO, Bolzano, Italy
  • Tommaso Beccari Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
  • Munis Dundar Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
  • Matteo Bertelli EBTNA-LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy; MAGI EUREGIO, Bolzano, Italy; MAGI’S LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy


Bacteriophages, spatial/temporal distribution, ecology, microbial communities, natural selection


Phages are the obligate parasite of bacteria and have complex interactions with their hosts. Phages can live in, modify, and shape bacterial communities by bringing about changes in their abundance, diversity, physiology, and virulence. In addition, phages mediate lateral gene transfer, modify host metabolism and reallocate bacterially-derived biochemical compounds through cell lysis, thus playing an important role in ecosystem. Phages coexist and coevolve with bacteria and have developed several antidefense mechanisms in response to bacterial defense strategies against them. Phages owe their existence to their bacterial hosts, therefore they bring about alterations in their host genomes by transferring resistance genes and genes encoding toxins in order to improve the fitness of the hosts. Application of phages in biotechnology, environment, agriculture and medicines demands a deep insight into the myriad of phage-bacteria interactions. However, to understand their complex interactions, we need to know how unique phages are to their bacterial hosts and how they exert a selective pressure on the microbial communities in nature. Consequently, the present review focuses on phage biology with respect to natural selection of bacterial populations.


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How to Cite

Naureen Z, Dautaj A, Anpilogov K, Camilleri G, Dhuli K, Tanzi B, et al. Bacteriophages presence in nature and their role in the natural selection of bacterial populations . Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2020 Nov. 9 [cited 2024 Jul. 14];91(13-S):e2020024. Available from: