Phage genome annotation : is this phage actually safe for use ?

10 October 2021

Rime Bioinformatics was present at 2021 conference in Roscoff! We introduced the first release of our bacteriophage genome annotation pipeline. This tool is designed to yield in-depth genome annotation, which is an essential step to assess a phage’s safety for therapeutic use. Genome annotation enables detection of genes that make phages potentially harmful for the patient or the environment, such as antibiotic resistance, lysogeny, and pathogenicity genes.

However, most available bioinformatics tools do not take the structural peculiarities of phages genomes into account, thus yielding poor genome annotation. It is indeed not uncommon to have only 30% known functions in a phage’s genome. Shallow annotations will potentially miss genes of interest, and therefore leave a risk for patients or environments treated by phage therapy.

Our pipeline combines multiple manual and automatic genome annotation heuristics, which helps to reduce the number of unannotated coding sequences. The results are obtained using several different methods, which also makes them more reliable. Our pipeline (which is described in this poster) promotes a safer use of phage therapy !