Phages will out: strategies of host cell lysis

Trends Microbiol. 2000 Mar;8(3):120-8. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(00)01705-4.


Most phages accomplish host lysis using a muralytic enzyme, or endolysin, and a holin, which permeabilizes the membrane at a programmed time and thus controls the length of the vegetative cycle. By contrast, lytic single-stranded RNA and DNA phages accomplish lysis by producing a single lysis protein without muralytic activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteriophages / metabolism*
  • Bacteriophages / pathogenicity
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / virology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • Membrane Proteins
  • S holin, bacteriophage lambda
  • Viral Proteins
  • Rz protein, bacteriophage lambda
  • Endopeptidases
  • endolysin