Inactivation of bacteriophage T4 by ethyl methanesulfonate: influence of host and viral genotypes

J Virol. 1972 Mar;9(3):440-7. doi: 10.1128/JVI.9.3.440-447.1972.


Inactivation of bacteriophage T4 by ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) is a complex process which depends critically upon the conditions of treatment and upon both the viral and the host genotypes. EMS-inactivated particles are capable of multiplicity and cross-reactivation, indicating the need for caution in using EMS in certain types of mutation studies. The pyrimidine dimer excision systems of the phage and the host do not affect the EMS sensitivity of T4, but the T4x(+)y(+) system does. Mutational defects in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) ligase and the DNA polymerase systems both of the virus and of its host also affect viral EMS sensitivity.

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Coliphages / drug effects*
  • Coliphages / enzymology
  • Coliphages / growth & development
  • Coliphages / metabolism
  • Coliphages / radiation effects
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / biosynthesis
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • DNA, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli* / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli* / metabolism
  • Genes
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Genetics, Microbial
  • Genotype*
  • Ligases / biosynthesis
  • Mutation
  • Radiation Effects
  • Sulfonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Alkylating Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Viral
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • Ligases