Influence of Internal Capsid Pressure on Viral Infection by Phage lambda
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Ejection of the genome from the virus, phage, is the initial step in the infection of its host bacterium. In vitro, the ejection depends sensitively on internal pressure within the virus capsid; however, the in vivo effect of internal pressure on infection of bacteria is unknown. Here, we use microfluidics to monitor individual cells and determine the temporal distribution of lysis due to infection as the capsid pressure is varied. The lysis probability decreases markedly with decreased capsid pressure. Of interest, the average lysis times remain the same but the distribution is broadened as the pressure is lowered.