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J Bacteriol. 2008 Apr;190(7):2434-40. doi: 10.1128/JB.01349-07. Epub 2008 Jan 25.

Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity island DNA is packaged in particles composed of phage proteins.

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  • 1Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Animal, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias, Apdo. 187, 12.400 Segorbe, Castellón, Spain.


Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) have an intimate relationship with temperate staphylococcal phages. During phage growth, SaPIs are induced to replicate and are efficiently encapsidated into special small phage heads commensurate with their size. We have analyzed by amino acid sequencing and mass spectrometry the protein composition of the specific SaPI particles. This has enabled identification of major capsid and tail proteins and a putative portal protein. As expected, all these proteins were phage encoded. Additionally, these analyses suggested the existence of a protein required for the formation of functional phage but not SaPI particles. Mutational analysis demonstrated that the phage proteins identified were involved only in the formation and possibly the function of SaPI or phage particles, having no role in other SaPI or phage functions.

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