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Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
William Navarre

26 BACTERIOPHAGESViruses that infect bacteriaProduce plaquesclearings in bacteria Simple acellular organization Can have either DNA or RNAo Single or double stranded o Linear or circularObligate bacterial parasiteDo not perform cell division Phages are most abundant biological entities on the planet Most bacterial genomes contain phage DNA in the form of prophages Huge number of sequenced phage genomes from freely living phage and prophages provides a huge resource for bioinformatics Phage or parts of phage can be used to treat bacterial disease Huge influence on microbial biology Bacterial predators Carry genes in their own genomes that alter bacterial physiologysometimes improving fitness Can transfer genes from one strain to anothertransduction Bacteria have primitive immune systems to recognize phagearms race Phage have highly diverse mechanisms of doing what they need to do and have provided many of the tools we use in molecular biology How to quantify phage Plaque assayo Soft agar top allow bacteria to spread into even lawn and phage to diffuse freelyo Infected bacterium lyses and release hundreds of phage which subsequently infect adjacent bacteria o Can quantify initial suspension as one phage forms one plaque Phages can be classified by their type of genome RNAssDNAdsDNA o includes caudoviralestailed phageswhich are the majority of phages Basic viral morphotypes shapes twenty to three hundred nanometersall are highly symmetrical capsid is the protein coatenvelope is the lipid membrane
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