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8 thoughts on “P3 – Karnosky”
What is the significance of the tail in a bacteriophage?
The tail allows the phage DNA to enter into the bacteria. Different types of bacteria have different receptors on the outside, which only specific phages can bind to due to differences in tail fibers. Once a phage has bound to the bacteria, the DNA travels from their capsid head through the tail into the bacteria!
Is it favorable for phages to have longer heads and tails? Why or why not?
For our specific morphotype (siphoviridae), a common feature is a long tail and smaller head. This differs from other morphotypes, but I can’t say for certain that it is more favorable to have a long tail as opposed to a shorter one. The speed at which the phage can move may be impacted between morphotypes, but within siphoviridae phages I don’t believe there to be much of a difference. The bigger difference between tail length comes from the tail fibers which allow the phage to bind to bacteria and inject their DNA. A bacteria that is infected by a siphoviridae phage will likely not be infected by a phage of another morphotype, so that is where the difference in tail length comes in. Hope that helps!
What are characteristics of the A4 subcluster? why does the subcluster matter?
The subcluster of a phage matters because there is so much similarity between genomes. Phages in the same subcluster have similar gene order and function, so it is easier to study. A4 phages all infect Mycobacterium and have genomes of around 51,300 bp. We have not sequenced our genome yet, but we would expect it to be close to that length.
What are the specific benefits of phage from subcluster A4? Also great presentation.
While there aren’t any specific benefits to phages from cluster A4, they are all available for future research. Our phage, and many from A4, is lytic which makes them great candidates for medical or agricultural research because they immediately lyse the bacteria they infect and kill them.