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J Mol Biol. 1987 Mar 5;194(1):31-9.

DNA sequence of genes 38 encoding a receptor-recognizing protein of bacteriophages T2, K3 and of K3 host range mutants.


Genes 38, which code for a receptor-recognizing protein present at the tip of the long tail fibers, have been sequenced from phages T2, the T-even-type phage K3 and its host range mutants K3hx, K3h1 and K3h1h. The genes from phages T2 and K3 code for proteins consisting of 262 and 260 amino acid residues, respectively. Fifty amino-terminal and 25 carboxy-terminal residues are highly conserved. The amino-terminal amino acids are most likely involved in binding to the neighboring protein 37. Between residues 116 and 226 of the T2 protein and residues 116 and 223 of the K3 protein, sequences exist that are similar to sequences present in Escherichia coli outer membrane proteins and which serve as phage receptors. Most likely, all of these regions in the latter proteins are exposed on the cell surface and are part of their phage receptor areas. In the phage proteins, these sequences are flanked by stretches rich in glycine, perhaps providing an increased flexibility for the polypeptide at these sites; some "wobble" may be required during the protein 38-receptor interaction. The mutational alterations in the host range mutants were found in gene 38. In the K3hx protein, a duplication of six base-pairs caused the wild-type sequence -Gly163-Lys-Leu-Ile- to be changed to -Gly163-Lys-Leu-Lys-Leu-Ile-. In the K3h1 protein, a glutamic acid residue at position 203 was substituted by a lysine. Both alterations occurred within areas similar to outer membrane proteins. Mutant K3h1h, derived from K3h1, exhibits an extended host range as compared to K3h1. No mutational alteration, in addition to that found in K3h1, was found in g38 nor was the part of gene 37 that encodes the carboxy-terminal moiety of the protein altered. K3h1h may represent a "trigger-happy" phage. The results of this and other work show that the phage-phage receptor systems under study represent a primitive immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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