Gene product 0.4 increases bacteriophage T7 competitiveness by inhibiting host cell division

Ruth Kiro, Shahar Molshanski-Mor, Ido Yosef, Sara L. Milam, Harold P. Erickson, Udi Qimron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Bacteriophages take over host resources primarily via the activity of proteins expressed early in infection. One of these proteins, produced by the Escherichia coli phage T7, is gene product (Gp) 0.4. Here, we show that Gp0.4 is a direct inhibitor of the E. coli filamenting temperature-sensitive mutant Z division protein. A chemically synthesized Gp0.4 binds to purified filamenting temperature- sensitive mutant Z protein and directly inhibits its assembly in vitro. Consequently, expression of Gp0.4 in vivo is lethal to E. coli and results in bacteria that are morphologically elongated. We further show that this inhibition of cell division by Gp0.4 enhances the bacteriophage's competitive ability. This division inhibition is thus a fascinating example of a strategy in bacteriophages to maximize utilization of their hosts' cell resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19549-19554
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2013


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of General Medical SciencesR01GM066014


    • Bacterial division
    • Bacteriophage biology
    • Host takeover


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