Introduction to Bacteriophages

Authored by: Elizabeth Kutter , Emanuel Goldman

Practical Handbook of Microbiology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466587397
eBook ISBN: 9781466587403
Adobe ISBN:


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Bacteriophages are viruses that infect only bacteria. They are like complex spaceships (Figure 47.1), each carrying its genome from one susceptible bacterial cell to another in which it can direct the production of more phages. Each phage particle (virion) contains its nucleic acid genome (DNA or RNA) enclosed in a protein or lipoprotein coat or capsid; the combined nucleic acid and capsid form the nucleocapsid. The target host for each phage is a specific group of bacteria. This group is often some subset of one species, but several related species can sometimes be infected by the same phage.

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