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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1974 Apr; 71(4): 1451–1455.
PMCID: PMC388247

Protein Fusion: A Novel Reaction in Bacteriophage λ Head Assembly


Parts of two phage-coded head proteins, pE and pC, become fused during bacteriophage λ head assembly. pE is the main structural component of λ heads and pC is a minor head protein that is not found as such in mature heads. The bond joining the two proteins appears to be covalent and is not a disulfide bond. Only a specific subset of the sequences of each protein is found in the fusion products, and these sequences are found in the products in equimolar amounts. Two nearly identical fusion products; X1 and X2, are detected; X2 is slightly smaller than X1 and appears to be a proteolytic cleavage product of X1. The fusion reaction probably takes place on a nascent head structure.

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