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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Control of bacteriophage mu lysogenic repression.

The transposable and temperate phage Mu infects Escherichia coli where it can enter the lytic life-cycle or reside as a repressed and integrated prophage. The repressor protein Rep is the key element in the lysis-lysogeny decision. We have analyzed the fate of Rep in different mutants by Western blotting under two conditions that can induce a lysogen: high temperature and stationary phase. We show that, unexpectedly, Rep accumulates under all conditions where the prophage is completely derepressed, and that this accumulation is ClpX-dependent. An analysis of the degradation kinetics shows that Rep is a target of two protease systems: inactivation of either the clpP or lon gene results in a stabilization of Rep. Such a reaction scheme explains the counterintuitive observation that derepression is correlated with high repressor concentration. We conclude that under all conditions of phage induction the repressor is sequestered in a non-active form. A quantitative simulation accounts for our experimental data. It provides a model that captures the essential features of Mu induction and explains some of the mechanisms by which the physiological signals affecting the lysis-lysogeny decision converge onto Rep.[1]


  1. Control of bacteriophage mu lysogenic repression. Ranquet, C., Toussaint, A., de Jong, H., Maenhaut-Michel, G., Geiselmann, J. J. Mol. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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