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The bacteriophage phi29 head-tail connector imaged at high resolution with the atomic force microscope in buffer solution

Muller, D. J. and Engel, A. and Carrascosa, J. L. and Velez, M.. (1997) The bacteriophage phi29 head-tail connector imaged at high resolution with the atomic force microscope in buffer solution. The EMBO journal, Vol. 16, H. 10. pp. 2547-2553.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5257698

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Abstract

The surfaces of two- and three-dimensional phi29 connector crystals were imaged in buffer solution by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Both topographies show a rectangular unit cell with dimensions of 16.5 nm x 16.5 nm. High resolution images of connectors from the two-dimensional crystal surface show two connectors per unit cell confirming the p42(1)2 symmetry. The height of the connector was estimated to be at least 7.6 nm, a value close to that found in previous studies using different techniques. The 12 subunits of the wide connector domain were clearly resolved and showed a right-handed vorticity. The channel running along the connector had a diameter of 3.7 nm in the wide domain, while it was 1.7 nm in the narrow domain end, thus suggesting a tronco-conical channel shape. Moreover, the narrow connector end appears to be rather flexible. When the force applied to the stylus was between 50 and 100 pN, the connector end was fully extended. At forces of approximately 150 pN, these ends were pushed towards the crystal surface. The complementation of the AFM data with the three-dimensional reconstruction obtained from electron microscopy not only confirmed the model proposed, but also offers new insights that may help to explain the role of the connector in DNA packing.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Former Organization Units Biozentrum > Structural Biology (Engel)
UniBasel Contributors:Engel, Andreas H
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0261-4189
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:20
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:18

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