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J Bacteriol. 1995 Jun;177(11):3185-90.

Identification of related genes in phages phi 80 and P22 whose products are inhibitory for phage growth in Escherichia coli IHF mutants.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


Bacteriophage lambda grows in both IHF+ and IHF- host strains, but the lambdoid phage phi 80 and hybrid phage lambda (QSRrha+)80 fail to grow in IHF- host strains. We have identified a gene, rha, in the phi80 region of the lambda(QSRrha+)80 genome whose product, Rha, inhibits phage growth in an IHF- host. A search of the GenBank database identified a homolog of rha, ORF201, a previously identified gene in phage P22, which similarly inhibits phage growth in IHF- hosts. Both rha and ORF201 contain two possible translation start sites and two IHF binding site consensus sequences flanking the translation start sites. Mutations allowing lambda (QSRrha+)80 and P22 to grow in IHF- hosts map in rha and ORF201, respectively. We present evidence suggesting that, in an IHF+ host, lambda(QSRrha+)80 expresses Rha only late in infection but in an IHF- host the phage expresses Rha at low levels early in infection and at levels higher than those in an IHF+ host late in infection. We suspect that the deregulation of rha expression and, by analogy, ORF201 expression, is responsible for the failure of phi80, lambda(QSRrha+)80, and P22 to grow in IHF mutants.

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