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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 Oct;13(10):641-50. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3527.

A new perspective on lysogeny: prophages as active regulatory switches of bacteria.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


Unlike lytic phages, temperate phages that enter lysogeny maintain a long-term association with their bacterial host. In this context, mutually beneficial interactions can evolve that support efficient reproduction of both phages and bacteria. Temperate phages are integrated into the bacterial chromosome as large DNA insertions that can disrupt gene expression, and they may pose a fitness burden on the cell. However, they have also been shown to benefit their bacterial hosts by providing new functions in a bacterium-phage symbiotic interaction termed lysogenic conversion. In this Opinion article, we discuss another type of bacterium-phage interaction, active lysogeny, in which phages or phage-like elements are integrated into the bacterial chromosome within critical genes or operons and serve as switches that regulate bacterial genes via genome excision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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