Bacteriophage Assembly

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It’s the Phestival of Phage 2011 on MicrobiologyBytes :-)

Bacteriophage animation How proteins and nucleic acids assemble, often spontaneously, into structurally well-defined three-dimensional objects is an intriguing question. The limited size of the phage genome and the multicomponent composition of bacteriophages make them well suited for assembly investigations. Genetic manipulation of phages has made it easy to observe the effects of gene inactivation on protein-protein association, providing information on the sequence of assembly processes. Over the past fifty years, mutational, biochemical and biophysical analyses, X-ray crystallography, NMR, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), thin sectioning and single molecule methods have been used to study bacteriophages. This review describes what has been achieved and contemplates what still needs to be accomplished, focusing mostly on dsDNA tailed phages.

Bacteriophage Assembly. Viruses 2011, 3(3), 172-203; doi:10.3390/v3030172
Bacteriophages have been a model system to study assembly processes for over half a century. Formation of infectious phage particles involves specific protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions, as well as large conformational changes of assembly precursors. The sequence and molecular mechanisms of phage assembly have been elucidated by a variety of methods. Differences and similarities of assembly processes in several different groups of bacteriophages are discussed in this review. The general principles of phage assembly are applicable to many macromolecular complexes.

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