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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2004 Apr;14(2):171-80.

The bacteriophage T4 DNA injection machine.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054, USA. mgr@indiana.bio.purdue.edu

Abstract

The tail of bacteriophage T4 consists of a contractile sheath surrounding a rigid tube and terminating in a multiprotein baseplate, to which the long and short tail fibers of the phage are attached. Upon binding of the fibers to their cell receptors, the baseplate undergoes a large conformational switch, which initiates sheath contraction and culminates in transfer of the phage DNA from the capsid into the host cell through the tail tube. The baseplate has a dome-shaped sixfold-symmetric structure, which is stabilized by a garland of six short tail fibers, running around the periphery of the dome. In the center of the dome, there is a membrane-puncturing device, containing three lysozyme domains, which disrupts the intermembrane peptidoglycan layer during infection.

PMID:
15093831
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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