Head Size Determination and the Morphogenesis of Satellite Phage P4

  • Richard Goldstein
  • Judith Lengyel
  • Gail Pruss
  • Kathleen Barrett
  • Richard Calendar
  • Erich Six
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology / Ergebnisse der Mikrobiologie und Immunitätsforschung book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 68)


Satellite phage P4 is a virus which can only make plaques on E. coli strains which carry P2 or a related helper prophage (Six, 1963; Six and Klug, 1973). P4 requires all the head and tail genes of its helper prophage for
successful lytic multiplication (Six, 1975). As expected from this genetic data, satellite and helper phages appear similar under the electron microscope (Fig. 1; Inman et al., 1971). However, the satellite phage head is smaller than the head of its helper, and contains a smaller genome (m.w. = 7 × 106 daltons, in contrast to 22 × 106 daltons for the P2 helper genome; Inman and Bertani, 1969; Inman et al., 1971). The P2 and P4 genomes are not homologous, since they show ≦ 1% cross-hybridization (Lindqvist, 1974). The small P4 head is never found in cells infected by the helper phage P2 alone. Thus, satellite phage P4 carries the potential for specific head size determination (Gibbs et al., 1973).


Head Size Phage Particle Major Capsid Protein Helper Phage Phage Head 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Goldstein
    • 1
  • Judith Lengyel
    • 2
  • Gail Pruss
  • Kathleen Barrett
  • Richard Calendar
    • 3
  • Erich Six
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular GeneticsHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Biology DivisionMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Molecular Biology Dept.University of CaliforniaBerkelyUSA
  4. 4.Microbiology Dept.University of Iowa Medical CenterIowa CityUSA

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