bIL41 and bIL170, virulent phages of Lactococcus lactis belonging to the 936 group, possess a late gene named l12 , coding a putative fiber sharing partial similarity to diverse gene products of dairy phages, including host-range determinants, but whose function is unknown in this group. We observed that the full-size gpl12 gene product is a minor protein constitutive of both phage particles. A derivative of bIL41 deleted for part of this gene was constructed by homologous recombination. The recombinant bIL41ΔL12 showed normal propagation on strain IL1403 and no altered head and tail structures, demonstrating its non-essential role under our laboratory conditions. bIL170 was investigated for major structural components. Tails were characterized by electron microscopy and image analysis, which indicated that the major repeat unit of the tail occupied a maximum volume of 18.5 nm 3 , corresponding to a size of 20 kDa for a globular protein. Total protein profiles and head-enriched fractions of bIL170 exhibited a major 38 kDa protein, identified by N-terminal sequence as the product of l13 . This result questions some of the functional predictions deduced from synteny relationships assumed for the lambda-supergroup of the family Siphoviridae to which the 936-type phages were proposed to belong.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2006
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