The transfer of DNA from one prokaryotic cell compartment to another takes place during mating, during phage assembly, and possibly during cell division. During the assembly of double-stranded DNA phages, DNA molecules are not 0066-4227 /85/1001-0109$02.00 BAZINET & KING only translocated from the cell into the phage capsid but are condensed into a tightly wound state (26). The discovery that the shells of bacteriophages were assembled empty of DNA, and that the DNA was subsequently threaded into the precursor shells, established an active role for precursor shells in the DNA packaging process (19, 76). At the heart of both processes-shell assembly and DNA packagingÂ is the singular vertex that morphologically forms the site of tail attachment. In their 1978 review, Murialdo & Becker (76) focused attention on this vertex as a key to understanding both shell assembly and DNA packaging. The vertex functions in at least three different phases of the phage life-cycle: (a) initiation of procapsid assembly; (b) encapsidation of DNA into the proÂ capsid; and (c) transfer of the DNA out of the capsid into the host cell. We will refer to this vertex as the DNA translocating or portal vertex. In the mature phage the
Annual Review of Microbiology – Annual Reviews
Published: Oct 1, 1985
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