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Phage Lambda’s Polar Expedition

For a long, long time, phage lambda (λ) has known that its E. coli host was not simply ‘a well-stirred bag of enzymes’ (something we’ve come to appreciate only relatively recently). This is vital information for lambda since it needs to interact with two particular host proteins in order to launch an infection. One is its receptor (LamB) located on the outer membrane (OM), the other is an inner membrane protein, ManY.

ManY works for E. coli as part of the inner membrane mannose transporter, whereas for lambda it is required for entry of the phage’s DNA into the cell. And ManY is not part of that imaginary stirred gemisch. Using a ManY-GFP fusion protein and fluorescence microscopy, Edgar and colleagues demonstrated that ManY is localized at the cell poles and at cell division sites (future cell poles) in living cells.

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by Merry Youle
Small Things Considered


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