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. 2004 Apr;14(2):171-80.
doi: 10.1016/

The Bacteriophage T4 DNA Injection Machine


The Bacteriophage T4 DNA Injection Machine

Michael G Rossmann et al. Curr Opin Struct Biol. .


The tail of bacteriophage T4 consists of a contractile sheath surrounding a rigid tube and terminating in a multiprotein baseplate, to which the long and short tail fibers of the phage are attached. Upon binding of the fibers to their cell receptors, the baseplate undergoes a large conformational switch, which initiates sheath contraction and culminates in transfer of the phage DNA from the capsid into the host cell through the tail tube. The baseplate has a dome-shaped sixfold-symmetric structure, which is stabilized by a garland of six short tail fibers, running around the periphery of the dome. In the center of the dome, there is a membrane-puncturing device, containing three lysozyme domains, which disrupts the intermembrane peptidoglycan layer during infection.

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