It has previously been shown that: (i) during infection of its host, the DNA bacteriophage T7 assembles a DNA-free procapsid (capsid I), a capsid with an envelope differing physically and chemically from the capsid of the mature bacteriophage, and (ii) capsid I converts to a capsid (capsid II) with a bacteriophage-like envelope as it packages DNA. Lysates of phage T7-infected Escherichia coli contained a particle (AG particle) which copurified with capsid II during buoyant density sedimentation, velocity sedimentation, and solid support-free electrophoresis, but was distinguished from capsid II by its apparent diversity during electrophoresis in agarose gels. Treatment of AG particles with trypsin converted most of them to particles that comigrated with trypsin-treated capsid II during electrophoresis in agarose gels. Irreversible binding of AG particles to agarose gels was shown to contribute to the apparent diversity of AG particles during agarose gel electrophoresis. The results of quantitation of AG particles and of capsid I and capsid II in lysates of a nonpermissive host infected with T7 amber mutants suggested that in spite of their capsid II-like properties, most AG particles were produced during assembly of capsid I and not during DNA packaging. The presence of AG particles in T7 lysates explains contradictions in previous data concerning the pathway of T7 assembly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science