Microbiology Class Notes 12 November 2007

Microbiology Class Notes 12 November 2007 - Bacteriophages...

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Bacteriophages Bacteriophages are viruses of bacteria. Bacteriophages are differentiated into two distinct classes, virulent and temperate, based on the effects felt by the host by their infection. Virulent, or lytic, bacteriophages lyse the host cells as a consequence of the life cycle. Temperate bacteriophages may integrate their DNA into the host genome and replicate along with the host; in this case, there is no immediate lysis following infection. The reproduction of virulent bacteriophages occurs in a series of steps. The first step is absorption, where the bacteriophages attach to specific receptors on the host’s surface; there is great specificity for host receptors. The second step is the injection of the bacteriophage’s nucleic acid into the host cell. The capsid of the phage remains on the external surface of the host cell, where it is known as a ghost. The third step of the process is the phage’s genomic replication and coordination of protein synthesis. The phage inhibits and degrades the host cell’s nucleic acids before replicating, transcribing, and translating its own genome.
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