The Bacteriophage Head-to-Tail Interface
Many icosahedral viruses use a specialized portal vertex for genome encapsidation in the viral capsid (or head). This structure then controls release of the viral genetic information to the host cell at the beginning of infection. In tailed bacteriophages, the portal system is connected to a tail device that delivers their genome to the bacterial cytoplasm. The head-to-tail interface is a multiprotein complex that locks the viral DNA inside the phage capsid correctly positioned for egress and that controls its ejection when the viral particle interacts with the host cell receptor. Here we review the molecular mechanisms how this interface is assembled and how it carries out those two critical steps in the life cycle of tailed phages.
KeywordsBacteriophage Head-to-tail interface Portal system Capsid DNA packaging DNA ejection
Marie-Christine Vaney (Institut Pasteur, Paris) is acknowledged for insightful discussions on structure analysis and for invaluable help to prepare manuscript figures.
I thank present and past members of our team and collaborators for their insightful research that established present knowledge on the SPP1 head-to-tail interface.
Work in our laboratory on SPP1 phage assembly is supported by institutional funding from CNRS.
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