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J Virol. 1988 Jan;62(1):181-7.

Production of a polyhedral particle in Escherichia coli from a cDNA copy of the large genomic segment of bacteriophage phi 6.

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Department of Microbiology, Public Health Research Institute of the City of New York, Inc., New York 10016.


A polyhedral particle that resembles in composition and structure the procapsid of bacteriophage phi 6 was produced in Escherichia coli containing cDNA copies of the entire large genomic segment inserted into expression vector plasmids under the control of lac or tac promoters. The particles were composed of proteins P1, P2, P4, and P7 in the same stoichiometry as in the intact virion. In electron micrographs of negatively stained samples, the particles appeared as hexagons, stars, or rings of 10 knobs, which are characteristic of the five-, three-, and twofold axes of symmetry characteristic of phi 6 procapsids. Stable particles were also produced from cDNA deletions that produce only P1 and P4. Other cDNA deletions producing P1 and P7 and P1 alone resulted in unstable particles which could only be visualized in electron micrographs of thin sections of E. coli transformed by the recombinant plasmids. Our results indicate that the assembly of the phi procapsid is independent of other phage proteins and of normal phage RNA.

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