Models of bacteriophage DNA packaging motors

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42 Scopus citations


An ATP-dependent motor drives a DNA genome into a bacteriophage capsid during morphogenesis of double-stranded DNA bacteriophages both in vivo and in vitro. The DNA molecule enters the capsid through a channel in the center of a symmetric protein ring called a connector. Mechanisms in two classes have been proposed for this motor: (1) An ATP-driven rotating connector pulls a DNA molecule via serial power strokes. (2) The connector rectifies DNA motion that is either thermal, biased thermal, or oscillating electrical field-induced (motor-ratchet hypothesis). Mechanisms in the first class have previously been proposed to explain the detailed structure of DNA packaging motors. The present study demonstrates that the motor-ratchet hypothesis also explains the current data, including data in the following categories: biochemical genetics, energetics, structure, and packaging dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Bacteriophage
  • Biochemical energetics
  • Biochemical genetics
  • Connector
  • Feedback control
  • Structure of

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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