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J Bacteriol. 1994 Jul;176(13):4124-32.

Plasmid-directed assembly of the lipid-containing membrane of bacteriophage phi 6.

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


The nucleocapsid of bacteriophage phi 6 is enveloped within a lipid-containing membrane. The membrane is composed of proteins P3, P6, P9, P10, and P13 and phospholipids. The relationship between membrane protein P9 and morphogenetic protein P12 was studied in the absence of phage infection. cDNA copies of genes 9 and 12 were expressed on plasmids in Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola. Immunoblotting demonstrated the presence of protein P9 in strains carrying both gene 9 and gene 12 but not in strains with gene 9 alone. In the absence of P12, P9 was found to be unstable. Simultaneous synthesis of proteins P9 and P12 led to the formation of a low-density P9 particle having a buoyant density similar to that of precursor structures composed of phospholipid and proteins isolated from phi 6-infected cells. These results are consistent with results of previous genetic experiments suggesting that P9 and P12 are necessary and sufficient for the formation of the phi 6 envelope. Extensions of P9 at the C terminus do not impair particle formation; however, N-terminal extensions or C-terminal deletions that extend into the hydrophobic region of P9 do impair particle formation.

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