Characterizing protein-nucleic acid interactions with challenge phages

Thomas E. Numrych, Jeffrey F. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Challenge phages are modified versions of bacteriophage P22 that are designed to study protein-nucleic acid interactions in vivo using the phage ant gene as a reporter. ant encodes a regulator of the lysogenic response, and its activity can be easily and sensitively monitored. P22 challenge phages can be used to characterize many different sequence-specific protein-DNA interactions by constructing derivatives that contain DNA binding sites of interest. The foreign DNA binding site is substituted for the phage Omnt operator, which controls ant transcription. In addition, challenge phages can be constructed to characterize protein-RNA interactions by substituting DNA encoding the appropriate RNA binding site upstream of the translation start of the ant gene. Specific applications of challenge phages will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • DNA-protein interactions
  • P22 challenge phage
  • RNA-protein interactions
  • altered DNA-binding specificity
  • higher-order complexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology


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