Decision Making by Temperate Phages

Ido Golding, Seth Coleman, Thu V.P. Nguyen, Tianyou Yao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We describe the process by which, following infection, a temperate phage chooses between two alternative developmental pathways: rapid replication, leading to the release of many new viral particles and death of the infected cell (lysis), versus the shutting off of all virulent functions, resulting in long-term dormancy (lysogeny). We focus on bacteriophage lambda, whose lysis/lysogeny decision serves as paradigm for the way genetic networks drive cell fate decisions, and for the way such decisions become indeterminate (“noisy”) at the single-cell level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-5, Fourth Edition
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128145166
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Bacteriophage lambda
  • Cell fate
  • Cellular individuality
  • Decision making
  • Genetic switch
  • Induction
  • Lysis
  • Lysogeny
  • Multiplicity of infection
  • Prophage
  • Single cell
  • Stochasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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