The membrane phospholipids of bacteriophage PR4 grown on wild-type Escherichia coli are markedly enriched in phosphatidylglycerol (PG) relative to host phospholipids. To investigate the role of PG in phage assembly and infectivity, we propagated PR4 on an E. coli mutant defective in PG synthesis. The PG content of PR4 grown on the mutant host accounted for 0.4% of the total viral phospholipids, representing a 90-fold decrease in PG relative to the PG content of phage grown on a wild-type host. Phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidic acid, the two major phospholipid species present in these phage preparations, accounted for 88.4 and 9.4% of the total viral phospholipids, respectively. This drastic alteration of the phage phospholipid composition had little or no adverse effect on either the stability or infectivity of the phage. We conclude that the enrichment of the PR4 virion in PG does not reflect an absolute structural requirement of the phage and is not essential for phage infectivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology