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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2007 Aug;10(4):382-7. Epub 2007 Aug 31.

Immunoglobulin-like domains on bacteriophage: weapons of modest damage?

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, QB3, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States.


Recent work has shown that Immunoglobulin-like (Ig-like) domains occur frequently on the surface of tailed dsDNA bacteriophages. Several of these Ig-like domains are added to bacteriophage structural proteins via programmed ribosomal frameshifts, and their evolutionary patterns suggest that they can be exchanged by horizontal transfer, independently of the protein to which they are attached. We propose that Ig-like domains on phages interact with carbohydrates on the cell surface and facilitate phage adsorption. Furthermore, Ig-like domains appear to be one of a number of conserved domains displayed on phage surfaces that serve to increase infectivity by binding to or degrading polysaccharides.

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