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Virology. 1990 Jan;174(1):329-34.

Structure of the bacteriophage lambda cohesive end site: bent DNA on both sides of the site, cosN, at which terminase introduces nicks during chromosome maturation.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Packaging of lambda DNA is mediated by the phage-encoded enzyme, terminase, which acts at a site termed cos. cos consists of cosB, the site where terminase binds lambda DNA, and cosN, the site where nicks are introduced to generate the cohesive ends of virion DNA. cos contains multiple binding sites for gpNu1, the small subunit of terminase, and integration host factor (IHF), an Escherichia coli DNA binding protein. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of circularly permuted segments of cos DNA has been used to locate major bend loci in cos. Two major bends have been located; one bend is ca 146 bp to the left of cosN while the second major bend is located ca 92 bp to the right of cosN. The major bend at 92 coincides roughly with I1, the strongest IHF binding site in cos. The possible roles of static bending in DNA packaging are discussed.

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