Introducing Lu-1, a Novel Lactobacillus jensenii Phage Abundant in the Urogenital Tract

Taylor Miller-Ensminger, Loyola University Chicago
Rita Mormando, Loyola University Chicago
Jason Shapiro, Loyola University Chicago
Alan J. Wolfe, Loyola University Chicago
Catherine Putonti, Loyola University Chicago

Author Posting © Miller-Ensminger et al., 2020. This article is posted here by permission of Miller-Ensminger et al. for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in PLoS ONE, Volume 15, Issue 6, August 2020,


Bacteriophages (phages) play a key role in shaping microbial communities, including those of the human body. Phages are abundant members of the urogenital tract, most often persisting through the lysogenic life cycle as prophages integrated within the genomes of their bacterial hosts. While numerous studies of the urogenital microbiota have focused on the most abundant bacterial member of this niche–Lactobacillus species–very little is known about Lactobacillus phages. Focusing on Lactobacillus jensenii strains from the urinary tract, we identified numerous prophages related to the previously characterized Lv-1 phage from a vaginal L. jensenii strain. Furthermore, we identified a new L. jensenii phage, Lu-1. Evidence suggests that both phages are abundant within the urogenital tract. CRISPR spacer sequences matching to Lv-1 and Lu-1 prophages were identified. While first detected in urinary isolates, the Lu-1 phage was also discovered in L. jensenii isolates from vaginal and perineal swabs, and both phages were found in metagenomic data sets. The prevalence of these phages in the isolates suggests that both phages are active members of the urogenital microbiota.