Mycobacteriophages are viruses that infect mycobacteria. These phages were first isolated in 1946 from samples of soil and leaf mould that infect fast growing saprophytic Mycobacterium smegmatis. In 1954, mycobacteriophages that would also infect slow-growing pathogenic bacilli of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex were discovered. Currently sixty four mycobacteriophage genomes are completely sequenced and are available on public databases. As the number of mycobacteriophages grew, a varied host range was revealed. Mycobacteria being the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, the emergence of drug resistant disease have stimulated fresh research into mycobacteriophages. Ability of these phages to infect and replicate in live mycobacterial cells provides a simple means of detecting viable bacteria and good progress has been made towards the development of new phage-based diagnostic and molecular tools. The potential of mycobacteriophages to detect and treat mycobacterial diseases remains largely unexplored. It is evident that much of interest and value awaits discovery by means of genetic analysis of these mycobacteriophages. Keeping in mind the importance of genomic and proteomic information of mycobacteriophages, this database provides detailed information on genes and proteins of phages sequenced completely.

Mycobacteriophage Gallery (all these photographs were downloaded from phagesdb.org)