Possible association between phages, Hoc protein, and the immune system


Mammals have become “an environment” for enterobacterial phage life cycles. Therefore it could be expected that bacteriophages adapt to them. This adaptation must comprise bacteriophage proteins.

Gp Hoc seems to have significance neither for phage particle structure nor for phage antibacterial activity. It is evidently not necessary for the “typical” antibacterial actions of bacteriophages. But the rules of evolution make it improbable that gp Hoc really has no function, and non-essential genes of T4-type phages are probably important for phages’ adaptation to their particular lifestyle. More interesting is the eukaryotic origin of gp Hoc: a resemblance to immunoglobulin-like proteins that reflects their evolutionary relation. Substantial differences in biological activity between T4 and a mutant that lacks gp Hoc were observed in a mammalian system. Hoc protein seems to be one of the molecules predicted to interact with mammalian organisms and/or modulate these interactions.

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Dąbrowska, K., Świtała-Jeleń, K., Opolski, A. et al. Possible association between phages, Hoc protein, and the immune system. Arch Virol 151, 209–215 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-005-0641-7

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  • Life Cycle
  • Immune System
  • Infectious Disease
  • Biological Activity
  • Antibacterial Action