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Gene Function pp 193-229 | Cite as

Bacteriophages

  • Robert E. Glass

Abstract

Viruses that grow on bacteria are termed bacteriophages; they contain no metabolic apparatus of their own and are unable to multiply in the absence of a sensitive host. Coliphages are bacteriophages whose host-range is restricted to the bacterium Escherichia coli. In many ways, bacterial viruses can be considered as transmissible extrachromosomal genetic elements (Chapter 4) that have gained the ability of elaborating a proteinaceous coat as well as killing their susceptible host. The complexity of bacteriophages varies greatly, approximately in proportion to the size of their genomes. Nevertheless, they are nothing more than a (lethal) replicon — a group of genes (present in the phage head either as DNA or RNA) able to replicate only in a permissive bacterial host. The protein coat acts as a more-or-less passive vehicle for transport of the viral genetic material. There are two main types of coliphages: virulent phages that multiply within the susceptible host, giving rise to progeny phage upon cell lysis and death; and temperate phages which can either enter this lytic cycle, or lysogenise the cell, undergoing controlled replication within the cell without lysis.

Keywords

Phage Particle Phage Genome Bacteriophage Lambda Bacterial Chromosome Circular Permutation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Robert E. Glass 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Glass
    • 1
  1. 1.NottinghamUK

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