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By Mark Ptashne

The 1st version of Mark Ptashne's 1986 e-book describing the rules of gene rules in phage lambda grew to become a vintage in either content material and shape, atmosphere a customary of readability and detailed prose that has infrequently been bettered. This variation is a reprint of the unique textual content, including a brand new bankruptcy updating the tale to 2004. one of the extraordinary new advancements are contemporary findings on long-range interactions among proteins certain to generally separated websites at the phage genome, and a close description of the way gene activation works.

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Extra info for A Genetic Switch: Phage Lambda Revisited

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New phage particles are formed and released when the cell lyses. • If the phage is lysogenizing, only two genes are on—cl and int. The int gene product, located in the recombination region, integrates the phage chromosome into the host chromosome. Finally, in the lysogen, only the repressor gene, cl, is active. 4 shows how a single recombination event integrates the λ chromosome into the much larger host chromosome, a process that occurs only if the phage is lysogenizing the host. The two DNA molecules are each broken once and their ends rejoined to form the single continuous structure in the lysogen.

This is explained in the text. How N works is not known in detail. We do know that it recognizes a specific sequence called Nut (for N utilization); as polymerase passes over this sequence it is evidently modified by N so that it ignores certain (but not all) further termination signals. There is one Nut site between PL and the beginning of N, and another just to the right of cro. 7 emphasizes that the site recognized by N (Nut) is distinct from the site where anti-termination actually occurs. At this point the pathway bifurcates.

If the phage chromosome is growing lytically, the various early genes are off and the heads, tails, and lysis genes are on. New phage particles are formed and released when the cell lyses. • If the phage is lysogenizing, only two genes are on—cl and int. The int gene product, located in the recombination region, integrates the phage chromosome into the host chromosome. Finally, in the lysogen, only the repressor gene, cl, is active. 4 shows how a single recombination event integrates the λ chromosome into the much larger host chromosome, a process that occurs only if the phage is lysogenizing the host.

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