Intracellular events during infection by Haemophilus influenzae phage and transfection by its DNA

Notani, Nihal K. ; Setlow, Jane K. ; Allison, D. P. (1973) Intracellular events during infection by Haemophilus influenzae phage and transfection by its DNA Journal of Molecular Biology, 75 (4). pp. 581-586. ISSN 0022-2836

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Intracellular events following infection of competent Haemophilus influenzae by HPlcl phage, or transfection by DNA from the phage, were examined. Physical separation of a large fraction of the intracellular phage DNA from the bulk of the host DNA was achieved by lysis of infected or transfected cells with digitonin, followed by low-speed centrifugation. The small amount of bacterial DNA remaining with the phage DNA in the supernatants could be distinguished from phage DNA by its ability to yield transformants. After infection by whole phage, three forms of intracellular phage DNA were observable by sedimentation velocity analysis: form III, the slowest-sedimenting one; form II, which sedimented 1.1 times faster than III, and form I, which sedimented 1.6 times faster than III. It was shown by electron microscopy, velocity sedimentation in alkali, and equilibrium sedimentation with ethidium bromide, that forms I, II and III are twisted circles, open circles, and linear duplexes, respectively.After the entry of phage DNA into wild-type cells in transfection, the DNA is degraded at early times, but later some of the fragments are reassembled, resulting in molecules that sediment faster than the monomer length of phage DNA. Some of the fast-sedimenting molecules are presumably concatemers and are generated by recombination. In strain rec1- the fast-sedimenting molecules do not appear and degradation of phage DNA is even more pronounced than in wild-type cells. In strain rec2- there is little degradation of phage DNA, and the proportion of fast-sedimenting molecules is much smaller than in wild-type cells. Since rec1- and rec2- are transfected with much lower efficiency than wild type, our hypothesis is that both fragmentation and generation of fast-sedimenting phage DNA by recombination are required for more efficient transfection.

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