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Structure. 2007 Sep;15(9):1099-104.

Cryo-EM study of the Pseudomonas bacteriophage phiKZ.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, 915 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The phiKZ virus is one of the largest known bacteriophages. It infects Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is frequently pathogenic in humans, and, therefore, has potential for phage therapy. The phiKZ virion consists of an approximately 1450 A diameter icosahedral head and an approximately 2000 A long contractile tail. The structure of the phiKZ tail has been determined using cryo-electron microscopy. The phiKZ tail is much longer than that of bacteriophage T4. However, the helical parameters of their contractile sheaths, surrounding their tail tubes, are comparable. Although there is no recognizable sequence similarity between the phiKZ and T4 tail sheath proteins, they are similar in size and shape, suggesting that they evolved from a common ancestor. The phiKZ baseplate is significantly larger than that of T4 and has a flatter shape. Nevertheless, phiKZ, similar to T4, has a cell-puncturing device in the middle of its baseplate.

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