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Inhibition of Host Protein Synthesis During Infection of Escherichi coli by Bacteriophage T4: III. Inhibition by Ghosts

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  • Biology
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Abstract

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-less T2 “ghosts” were prepared by osmotic shock and purified by KBr density gradient centrifugation. Escherichia coli B was treated with these ghosts in inorganic salts-glycerol medium to see which features of phage infection could be elicited by ghosts. At a multiplicity that was just sufficient to block induction of β-galactosidase (EC 3.2.1.23), 89% of the bacteria were killed and the rates of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and DNA synthesis were about 10 to 15% of normal. However, protein synthesis was almost completely blocked but resumed after 30 min. During this period, it was possible to induce messenger RNA (mRNA) from the lactose operon, although this mRNA could not be translated into active β-galactosidase. These results suggest to us that the viable cells surviving ghost infection synthesize nucleic acids at close to a normal rate but are temporarily blocked in protein synthesis. The continued formation of untranslated host mRNA mimics the pattern of bacterial synthesis just after whole-phage infection, and is consistent with the interpretation that the immediate block in the initiation of host translation by these viruses is due to their attachment.

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