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

Effect of spermidine on the RNA-A protein complex isolated from the RNA bacteriophage MS2.

The polyamine spermidine has recently been reported to be a substantial component of the RNA phage particle. Its effect on the isolated RNA-A protein complex of the phage MS2 is investigated here. This complex infects intact Escherichia coli cells via F-pili, as does the whole phage. It is shown that the infectivity of the complex on intact E. coli cells was enhanced by incubation with spermidine. Optimal stimulation (20-fold) of the complex infectivity was achieved by incubation with 3 x 10(-4) M spermidine for 20 to 30 min at 37 degrees C. This gave a more compact structure to the complex, as could be seen by its faster sedimentation in sucrose gradients. Although spermidine and Mg2+ are known to partially replace one another in several systems, no enhancement of the infectivity of the complex, but only its considerably faster sedimentation in sucrose gradients, occurred after incubation with 3 x 10(-4) M Mg2+. Only if the Mg2+ concentration was raised by more than one order of magnitude could increased infectivity of the complex be observed. At concentrations of spermidine and Mg2+ that maximally stimulated the infectivity of the complex on intact E. coli cells, no increase in infectivity of phenol-extracted RNA to E. coli spheroplasts was detected. From these in vitro results, the role of the polyamine spermidine in the RNA phage particle for the infecting, RNA-A protein complex molecules in phage infection is discussed.[1]


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