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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 May;270(1):42-8. Epub 2007 Jan 30.

Isolation and characterization of the Serratia entomophila antifeeding prophage.

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Biocontrol and Biosecurity, AgResearch, Canterbury Agricultural and Science Centre, Lincoln, New Zealand.


The Serratia entomophila antifeeding prophage (Afp) is thought to form a virus-like structure that has activity towards the New Zealand grass grub, Costelytra zealandica. Through the trans based expression of AnfA1, an RfaH - like transcriptional antiterminator, the Afp, was able to be induced. The expressed Afp was purified and visualized by electron microscopy. The Afp resembled a phage tail-like bacteriocin, exhibiting two distinct morphologies: an extended and a contracted form. The purified Afp conferred rapid activity towards C. zealandica larvae, causing cessation of feeding and a change to an amber colouration within 48 h postinoculation, with increased dose rates causing larval mortality.

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