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Virology. 1988 Jul;165(1):103-14.

Late stages in bacteriophage lambda head morphogenesis: in vitro studies on the action of the bacteriophage lambda D-gene and W-gene products.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of Toronto, Canada.


The in vitro maturation of bacteriophage lambda can be divided into discrete steps. Concatemers of lambda DNA bind terminase to form complex I. This DNA-terminase complex then binds a prohead to form a ternary complex (II). Complex II in turn can be converted to infectious phage by the addition of extracts containing the products of the phage genes D, W, FII, as well as phage tails. By using in vitro complementation assays gpD and gpW have been partially purified and their interactions with complex II studied. gpD can bind to complex II in vitro to form a new complex (III) which can be isolated by sedimentation on neutral sucrose gradients. This complex requires only the addition of gpW, gpFII, and phage tails to form mature phage particles. The sedimentation of complex III is virtually identical to that of complex II; however, the resistance of the former to inactivation by DNase is higher, likely due to the partial packaging of the DNA. In similar experiments it was shown that gpW cannot bind to complex II but can effectively interact with complex III. This latter reaction converts complex III to a DNase-resistant form which sediments in a manner identical to that of full phage heads (complex IV). After isolation of the complex IV only gpFII and tails are required for mature phage formation in vitro. gpW is a heat-stable protein of molecular weight approximately 10,000.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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