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Virology. 1991 Aug;183(2):519-38.

Nucleotide sequence of the bacteriophage P22 genes required for DNA packaging.

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Department of Cellular, Viral, and Molecular Biology, University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City 84132.


The mechanism of DNA packaging by dsDNA viruses is not well understood in any system. In bacteriophage P22 only five genes are required for successful condensation of DNA within the capsid. The products of three of these genes, the portal, scaffolding, and coat proteins, are structural components of the precursor particle, and two, the products of genes 2 and 3, are not. The scaffolding protein is lost from the structure during packaging, and only the portal and coat proteins are present in the mature virus particle. These five genes map in a contiguous cluster at the left end of the P22 genetic map. Three additional genes, 4, 10, and 26, are required for stabilizing of the condensed DNA within the capsid. In this report we present the nucleotide sequence of 7461 bp of P22 DNA that contains the five genes required for DNA condensation, as well as a nonessential open reading frame (ORF109), gene 4, and a portion of gene 10. N-terminal amino acid sequencing of the encoded proteins accurately located the translation starts of six genes in the sequence. Despite the fact that most of these proteins have striking analogs in the other dsDNA bacteriophage groups, which perform highly analogous functions, no amino acid sequence similarity between these analogous proteins has been found, indicating either that they diverged a very long time ago or that they are the products of spectacular convergent evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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