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Proteinase sensitivity of bacteriophage lambda tail proteins gpJ and pH in complexes with the lambda receptor.

  • C A Roessner
  • G M Ihler
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1984
  • Biology


Previous studies have shown that bacteriophage lambda initially binds to liposomes bearing its receptor protein by the tip of the tail fiber (type 1 complex). It then associates more directly so that the hollow tail tube is in direct contact with the membrane (type 2 complex). DNA can be injected across the lipid bilayer into the liposome from type 2 complexes. We show here that gpJ, the tail fiber protein, becomes more sensitive to proteolytic degradation in type 2 complexes, indicating that the tail fiber does not pass into the liposome and that the tail fiber may undergo a conformational change in type 2 complexes. Another bacteriophage protein, pH, is sensitive to proteolytic degradation in free bacteriophage, type 1 complexes, or type 2 complexes formed with free receptor, but is resistant to proteinases in type 2 complexes formed with liposomes. This finding suggests that pH associates with the membrane. We suggest that this association is part of the mechanism by which a transmembrane hole for DNA entry is formed.

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