A DNA-free, proteinaceous procapsid of bacteriophage T7 (capsid I) has been shown in previous studies to consist of an external, spherical shell (envelope) and an internal, cylindrical core with fibrous projections that connect the core to the envelope. To determine the role of the core in assembly of the envelope of capsid I, the kinetics of appearance of capsid I and possible intermediates in capsid I assembly (AG particles) were determined in the presence and absence of the core. For obtaining these data, agarose gel electrophoresis was used and appeared to be a technique more accurate and efficient than techniques used for obtaining similar data in the past. The results of these experiments were: (i) in the presence of the core, AG particles behaved kinetically as intermediates in the assembly of capsid I; (ii) in the absence of the core, assembly of capsid I terminated prematurely and AG particles accumulated. These and other data have been interpreted by assuming that: AG particles are breakdown products of precursors of capsid I; these precursors have uncorrected errors in the assembly of their envelopes; and a function of the core is to correct these errors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science