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Biophys J. 1995 Jan;68(1):157-63.

Structural changes in Escherichia coli membranes induced by bacteriophage T4 at different temperatures.

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Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Puschchino.


This paper presents some further evidence for our model of DNA translocation into Escherichia coli cells by bacteriophage T4 (see Tarahovsky, Y. S., Khusainov, A. A., Deev, A. A., Kim, Y. V. 1991. FEBS Lett. 289:18-22). When lowering the temperature, we succeeded in slowing down the infection process and in observing a few separate stages by electron microscopy. Also, potassium leakage at different temperatures was measured. At 0-6 degrees C the phage was found to be irreversibly adsorbed on the cell surface, its tail to be contracted, and the outer membrane to be invaginated. Membrane fusion and formation of broad intermembrane bridges with a hole for potassium leakage were shown to start above 7 degrees C. At about 17-20 degrees C the diameter of the bridge decreased considerably, which could correspond to the sealing of the membrane.

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