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J Virol. 2013 Nov;87(22):12260-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01948-13. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

Outer membrane proteins ail and OmpF of Yersinia pestis are involved in the adsorption of T7-related bacteriophage Yep-phi.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, China.


Yep-phi is a T7-related bacteriophage specific to Yersinia pestis, and it is routinely used in the identification of Y. pestis in China. Yep-phi infects Y. pestis grown at both 20°C and 37°C. It is inactive in other Yersinia species irrespective of the growth temperature. Based on phage adsorption, phage plaque formation, affinity chromatography, and Western blot assays, the outer membrane proteins of Y. pestis Ail and OmpF were identified to be involved, in addition to the rough lipopolysaccharide, in the adsorption of Yep-phi. The phage tail fiber protein specifically interacts with Ail and OmpF proteins, and residues 518N, 519N, and 523S of the phage tail fiber protein are essential for the interaction with OmpF, whereas residues 518N, 519N, 522C, and 523S are essential for the interaction with Ail. This is the first report to demonstrate that membrane-bound proteins are involved in the adsorption of a T7-related bacteriophage. The observations highlight the importance of the tail fiber protein in the evolution and function of various complex phage systems and provide insights into phage-bacterium interactions.

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