A coupled in vitro system for the formation and packaging of concatemeric phage T1 DNA.
- PubMed: 3900638
Extracts derived from E. coli cells infected non-permissively with phage T1 amber mutants were used in an in vitro system to investigate the packaging of T1 DNA into phage heads. The standard extract used infections with amber mutants in genes 1 and 2 (g1- g2-) which are defective in T1 DNA synthesis but can synthesis the proteins required for particle morphogenesis. g1- g2- extracts packaged T1+ virion DNA molecules with an efficiency of 3 X 10(5) pfu/micrograms DNA. Extracts from cells infected with phage also defective in DNA synthesis but carrying additional mutations in genes 3.5 or 4 which are required for concatemer formation in vivo (g1- g3.5- and g1- g4- extracts) package T1 virion DNA at substantially lower efficiencies. Analysis of the DNA products from these in vitro reaction showed that concatemeric DNA is formed very efficiently by g1- g2- extracts but not by g1- g3.5- or g1- g4- extracts. These results are interpreted as evidence that the T1 in vitro DNA packaging system primarily operates in a similar manner to the in vivo headful mechanism. This is achieved in vitro by the highly efficient conversion of T1 virion DNA into concatemers which are then packaged with a much lower efficiency into heads to form infectious particles. A secondary pathway for packaging T1 DNA into heads and unrelated to the headful mechanism may also exist.