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J Gen Virol. 1999 Dec;80 ( Pt 12):3305-8.

Bacteriophage-like particles associated with the gene transfer agent of methanococcus voltae PS.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The methanogenic archaeobacterium Methanococcus voltae (strain PS) is known to produce a filterable, DNase-resistant agent (called VTA, for voltae transfer agent), which carries very small fragments (4400 bp) of bacterial DNA and is able to transduce bacterial genes between derivatives of the strain. Examination by electron microscopy of two preparations of VTA that were concentrated and partially purified by different methods showed virus-like particles with isometric heads, about 40 nm in diameter, and with 61 nm long tails. These particles co-sedimented with the minute bacteriophage φX174 in a sucrose density gradient.

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